The Los Angeles Dodgers acquired Darwin Barney from the Chicago Cubs just before the non-waiver deadline in a move that very much flew under the radar. In exchange for the utility infielder, the Cubs received right-hander Jonathan Martinez, who the Dodgers signed out of Venezuela in 2011.
As a member of the Cubs, Barney won the 2012 Gold Glove as a second baseman. He only committed two errors the entire season and went 141 consecutive games without an error, which tied an MLB record. In 2014, Barney found himself as one of the leaders on a young and developing team.
Barney was replaced by the young talent and just before the trade, Barney was designated for assignment. After joining the Dodgers, Barney was optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque and was later recalled when Hanley Ramirez was placed on the disabled list.
Playing primarily at second base, Barney appeared in 22 games for the Dodgers and hit .303 while also showing a strong glove. Despite his success, Barney was left off the postseason roster as manager Don Mattingly opted to carry more relievers on the roster.
On Aug. 12, Barney got his first start as a Dodger and was key in the team’s 4-2 road win over the Atlanta Braves. Barney started the scoring in the second inning with an RBI single that brought home Justin Turner and gave the Dodgers an early 1-0 lead.
Barney later showed off his base running by alertly breaking home from third on a wild pitch to score an insurance run in the ninth inning.
On top of the offense he provided, Barney made two key defensive plays to help preserve the Dodger lead.
With two outs in the seventh, Emilio Bonifacio hit a grounder that got just passed a sliding Scott Van Slyke at first base, but Barney came from second to get to the ball and throw out the runner.
The second play came in the bottom of the ninth when Barney chased an Evan Gattis popup to into the outfield for an off-balanced catch to keep the tying run from coming to the plate.
Barney enters the off-season eligible for salary arbitration. The Dodgers have other viable options at second base with Dee Gordon presumably returning as starter and Alex Guerrero still on the team’s radar.
Plus, beginning in 2015, Guerrero can’t be sent to the Minors without his permission. It’s possible the Dodgers make Barney a non-tendered free agent if there no agreement or an arbitration offer is made by the deadline.