The Texas Rangers infield depth was lacking, but general manager Jon Daniels has taken care of that with the signing of infielder Darwin Barney. What kind of impact could Barney have on the Rangers roster?
According to T.R. Sullivan, the Texas Rangers have agreed to a Minor League contract with infielder Darwin Barney. The veteran infielder will have an opportunity to grab a bench role with Texas this spring.
The Rangers starting infield is set for the 2018 season, barring any injuries. It is expected to feature Adrian Beltre, Elvis Andrus, Rougned Odor, and Joey Gallo. All four players have basically locked up starting roles in Arlington.
However, Beltre is 38 years old and has a history of injuries, including last season. Odor struggled heavily in 2017 and could see less playing time, if he is unable to turn around his performance in 2018.
The signing of Barney gives the Rangers reliable depth off the bench. The 32-year-old infielder won a Gold Glove with the Chicago Cubs in 2012. He spent the last couple of seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays.
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Last season, Barney hit .232 with six home runs and 25 RBIs in 129 games. Barney is a career .246 hitter, but is better known for his defense. His bat is below MLB average, so he is better fit for a role off the bench.
His main competition this spring will be Jurickson Profar, Hanser Alberto, and Drew Robinson. However, Profar will likely obtain on role on the 25-man roster because he’s out of options and would be exposed to outright waivers.
Barney has a fairly strong chance at making the Rangers roster out of camp. Alberto missed all of last season after having shoulder surgery. His stints in the MLB have been brief and he struggled heavily with Texas in 2016.
Robinson can play outfield as well, so he could be carried as an extra outfielder. The Rangers could use an infielder like Barney, who has quite a lot of experience at multiple positions. Texas is unsure what they will get from Profar, so Barney is a safe bet defensively.
This is another low risk move by Texas, but it gives them much-needed depth. Barney is an excellent defensive player that can help the Rangers in 2018.