Continuing this series today, let's look at who the Cubs will use as backup infielders this year.
Three of the infield spots are locked down: Carlos Pena at first base, Starlin Castro at shortstop, and Aramis Ramirez at third base. It would seem, at this writing, that second base will be a platoon between Blake DeWitt and Jeff Baker. If we assume that the team is going to carry 12 pitchers again (man, I wish they wouldn't do that), that leaves five outfielders (as we discussed yesterday), two catchers and six infielders. (And if you're waiting for the "catcher" post tomorrow, forget it. There won't be one. We already know who everyone here doesn't want to be the backup catcher.)
So who's the sixth infielder? Darwin Barney, who looked real slick in the field and not overmatched at the plate late last year, is the favorite. But do you have someone else you'd rather see in that spot? Barney is the only 40-man roster guy up for this position; the rest are non-roster guys. Jeff Baker, who will platoon at 2B, is also a backup for 3B, and will get some time at 1B this spring. (But probably not much time in RF.)
After the jump, some candidates for this role. Vote in the poll for your choice.
These are, again, listed in alphabetical order.
Darwin Barney: The Purple Evolutionist is an outstanding fielder at both second base and shortstop. Now when was the last time the Cubs really had someone like that who could play both of those positions competently and actually hit a little? No one's expecting Barney to be a great hitter. But he's no Neifi Perez, either. Looks like the Cubs got good value from their 2007 fourth-round pick.
Scott Moore: The former Cub, who was a No. 1 pick (8th overall) of the Tigers in 2002 and the last vestige of the Kyle Farnsworth deal, returns from a couple of years in exile in Baltimore to try to make the team. At 27 he's not really a prospect; his likely role is to play first or third base at Iowa.
Augie Ojeda: Everyone loves Augie, right? He's in camp, most likely, to provide some mentoring for younger infielders. Much as we loved him as a Cub, it's hard to forget or forgive that unbelievable division series he had against the Cubs as a Diamondback in 2007. If he keeps playing after spring training, it'll probably be at Iowa.
Bobby Scales: Seriously, why isn't this guy coaching now instead of playing?
Marquez Smith: One of the guys everyone here loved to put forth as a sleeper after his out-of-nowhere good year in 2010, he's probably also ticketed for Iowa, where he hit .314/.384/.574 in 91 games last year.
Who is your choice for the Cubs' sixth infielder in 2011?
Darwin Barney (1023 votes)
Scott Moore (21 votes)
Augie Ojeda (125 votes)
Bobby Scales (113 votes)
Marquez Smith (68 votes)
Someone else (leave in comments) (35 votes)
1385 total votes