Cubs, Darwin Barney Avoid Arbitration

Dilip Vishwanat

There's just one arb-eligible Cubs player remaining unsigned.

Here's the scoop:

And here we are, exactly at the midpoint of Barney's $2.8 million request and the Cubs' $1.8 million offer. Why they couldn't have just split the difference before the deadline, I'm not sure.

As you all know, Barney had a terrible year at the plate in 2013, among the worst for any full-time player. Even in his best offensive season (2011), his OPS+ was just 83, and his numbers of .276/.313/.353 were only acceptable because of his stellar defense. Barney was injured in the last pre-season game of 2013 when he ran into a wall at Minute Maid Park in Houston. That could be one of the reasons for his poor 2013; also, several other Cubs (Starlin Castro, Anthony Rizzo) had poor hitting years, which is a likely indictment of the coaching staff and one of the reasons Dale Sveum and his staff were replaced.

If Barney can return to his 2011 level of hitting, he's a decent regular player because of his defensive value. We can only hope this is the case.

That leaves Jeff Samardzija as the only arb-eligible player unsigned, which should not surprise you. Shark's arb hearing is next Monday, so he and the team have four days to get a signing accomplished before they go to an actual hearing, which would be the first for the Theo Epstein regime since they took over the Cubs.

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