Darwin Barney Plays. Logan Watkins Sits. Why?


Darwin Barney's having a horrific season. The Cubs have a potential replacement for him, right on their own bench. But the manager won't play him. Why?

Perhaps this isn't worth an entire article, but it's a slow day and I thought I'd take a look at a miscellaneous topic.

Or maybe it is worth an entire article, because this speaks to the way Dale Sveum handles players.

BCBer elgato prompted me to write this, actually, wondering why Dale continues to stick with Darwin Barney at second base... every... single... day.

Barney is having the worst year of his career. Hitting .215/.269/.321 -- an OPS+ of 61 -- just can't cut it, even with Barney's defense, and though he's still good defensively, he doesn't seem as spectacularly good as he was in 2012. He's not likely to win another Gold Glove this year, for example, and there are only two other players (Marlins shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria, and Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar) in the major leagues this year who have as many PA as Barney with a lower OPS+.

Which brings me to Logan Watkins. Watkins was the Cubs' Minor League Player of the Year in 2012. He regressed offensively this year, but still wound up being recalled August 4 when Luis Valbuena was placed on the disabled list.

And Watkins sat. And sat. And sat some more. He's played in 16 games. Two of those were starts, four others as a defensive replacement, and he's pinch-hit 10 times (0-for-9 with a walk).

I ask you: How does this help the player, or the team? Watkins has been pretty much nailed to the bench for four weeks, during which he could have been getting out of his season-long slump at Iowa. Or, he could have started from time to time at second base, for example, Monday against another bad team, the Marlins.

But Dale doesn't seem to be inclined to do that. Barney, after nudging his batting average over .230 in late June (for a couple of days, it was actually higher than Starlin Castro's), has resumed his slump; since July 25 Barney is hitting .198/.269/.264. That's... awful.

I'm sure Darwin Barney is a great guy and works hard. But he's simply not performing, and this is a bad year and the Cubs are playing bad teams this week.

Maybe we should see a few games' worth of Logan Watkins, just to find out what he can actually do when not sitting around.

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