On the meaning of Darwin Barney

Rob Neyer

Here's a tweet from today with a fond remembrance:

I'm not sure if Danny's taking a swipe at WAR here, or merely pointing out how far Barney's stock has dropped. Either way, I think there's a point worth making here. A couple of points, even.

One, we shouldn't get super-excited about a half-season of defensive metrics. Even the best defensive metrics. Which almost anybody who's actually involved creating these metrics will happily admit. I don't remember Barney's exact situation, but he did look really tremendous in the first half of 2012. I think he was hitting decently, and his fielding stats were off the charts. 

Both settled down some in the second half. But you know what? He's continued to field like a Gold Glover. These are his Ultimate Zone Ratings per 150 games, 2012-2014: 17.2 / 15.5 / 15.5.

Can't get much more consistent than that! The problem isn't that the fielding stats were wrong. The problem is that his hitting became unacceptable last season and didn't improve this season. His fielding's so great that he remains a replacement-level second baseman. But keeping him around just doesn't make any sense with Arismendy Alcantara ready to take over.