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2016 Cubs Spring Training Countdown: 15 Days

I'm sure many of you have fond memories of this guy.

David Banks/Getty Images

Darwin Barney is one of those players that you can't help but root for.

He seems like a great clubhouse guy. He works hard and plays great defense.

What he can't do is hit, and that's what prevented him from being a starting player on any team but a bad one.

Barney had an outstanding year in 2012, for a 101-loss Cubs team. He set a single-season National League record for consecutive errorless games (141) and fell three outs short of breaking the major-league record when he booted a ball in the eighth inning of the game in which he'd have broken the mark held by Placido Polanco.

Barney's offense in 2012 -- .254/.299/.354 -- wasn't great, but combined with the fantastic defense it gave him 4.6 bWAR, which ranked 31st overall in the National League. 3.6 of that WAR came from defense -- that ranked first in the N.L. Incidentally, Barney's 2012 season ranks in the top 50 defensive WAR seasons in major-league history (since 1914, as far as baseball-reference's database goes back).

Then his offense dropped to horrifyingly bad levels in 2013. He hit .208/.266/.303. The .569 OPS was third-worst among the 140 qualified hitters in the majors that year, and even with the good defense it wasn't enough for him to hold on to a starting job. By the middle of 2014 he had been mostly benched, and then was traded to the Dodgers. The Cubs received minor-league pitcher Jonathan Martinez, who still might have a chance at a big-league career of some kind.

The ending might be happy for Barney, who wound up with the Blue Jays last September and re-signed with them this offseason. He got a major-league deal, which means he's likely going to be a utility infielder for them in 2016. Good for him, as the Jays are likely contenders again.

I'll always root for Barney, who's an easy player to like. He's 30 now, but still could put together a few more seasons as a backup infielder.