While Darwin Barney may not be in the starting lineup come April, he is prepared for whatever his role may be with the Los Angeles Dodgers this season.
Barney, who was acquired by the Dodgers from the Chicago Cubs on July 30 for Minor-Leaguer Jonathon Martinez and cash considerations, played in 22 games for the Dodgers last season and had a .303 batting average, which was an added bonus to his .966 fielding percentage.
Barney recently told Craig Minami of True Blue LA third base is among the positions he’ll take reps at during during Spring Training in the event he’s needed somewhere outside his usual second base or shortstop:
I’ll probably get reps over there,” said Barney, “it is definitely valuable to have guys that could move all over in case something happens, extra innings, you got to move me over there.” Barney will move back and forth between positions,” Mattingly said. “We’ll give him reps at different spots and getting him used to a lot of different situations.”
Having a bench player that can take over at multiple positions is of great benefit for a club. Last season, Justin Turner was exactly that for the Dodgers, and his success helped boost them into the postseason. Turner figures to play a similar role this season and he could be joined by Barney.
However, while the 29-year-old Barney has a career .986 fielding percentage, he’s only played six of 547 games in the Majors over parts of five seasons at third base — all others have come at second base (520 games) and shortstop (21 games). Playing second base for the Cubs, Barney had a total of 50 defensive runs saved.
Barring injury, a starting job doesn’t appear to be in Barney’s future with the club. Simply making the roster out of Spring Training may prove to be a difficult task in and of itself as the Dodgers added plenty of depth to the organization during the offseason.
Moreover, Barney still has options remaining. Considering the emphasis president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and general manager Farhan Zaidi placed on defense and keeping players fresh, Barney should see some time in the Majors this season.
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