Darwin Barney's glove continues to keep him around at the big-league level, but for how much longer is a real question. He still graded out as a net positive in the field in 2017, but not to the same extent as 2016, and not nearly to the level he was at during his peak years with the Cubs from 2012-13. Barney has always been a light-hitting infielder, with his ISO ranging from .078 to .104 in his full seasons. His wOBA has never exceeded .303 in any season with more than 250 plate appearances. The Blue Jays brought in Aledmys Diaz this winter in a trade with St. Louis, making a return to Toronto unlikely for Barney. Chances are, he will settle for a minor-league deal in free agency with a chance to work his way into a utility role in spring training.
Barney signed a minor-league contract with the Rangers on Monday which includes an invitation to spring training. Multiple injuries around Toronto's infield allowed Barney to start 96 games for the Blue Jays in 2017, though he struggled to make an impact and finished the season with a lackluster .232/.275/.327 line across 363 plate appearances. While he doesn't offer much from an offensive standpoint, Barney's glove continues to keep him around the major-league level. As a result, he'll get a chance to break camp with the Rangers in a utility role, though he won't carry any fantasy value even if he does so.
Barney went 2-for-3 with a home run and three RBI in Tuesday's 5-2 win over the Royals. Barney opened the scoring with a two-run homer in the sixth inning and added an RBI single in the next frame. The long ball was only Barney's fifth in 119 games, and he's unlikely to move out of the bottom third of Toronto's order any time soon judging by his .237/.272/.330 line.
Barney is out of the lineup Wednesday against the Orioles. For the second consecutive day, Barney is being withheld from the lineup and giving way to Ryan Goins at second base. Although he's hitting just .237/.273/.322 for the season, Barney has shown a bit more life at the plate recently as he's pieced together a .389 batting average over 36 at-bats since the start of September.
Barney is not in the lineup for Tuesday's game against the Orioles, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca reports. Barney has an impressive eight hits over his last three games, but he'll head to the bench for a breather after starting seven consecutive contests. Ryan Goins will slide over to second base in his stead, opening up a spot for Richard Urena to start at shortstop. If Urena continues to impress, he could cut into the workload of Barney and Goins down the stretch.
Barney is out of the lineup Sunday against the Orioles. After starting the last seven games in the infield, Barney seems to have seized control of a regular role, but he'll be given the day off Sunday as manager John Gibbons goes with Richard Urena at second base in what will mark the 21-year-old's first career MLB start. If Urena impresses Sunday, he could cut into Barney's workload more regularly in the final month of the season.