- Doug Padilla, Chicago White Sox beat reporter
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There is always the chance he could be thrown into the mix to sweeten a deal -- and ESPN Chicago's Bruce Levine reported Sunday that the Detriot Tigers are intertested in acquiring Barney -- but the Cubs are expected to do everything they can to add Barney to the group of young players the club expects to build around.
Unlike Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo, who radiate talent, Barney is of the grinder variety who gets the most out of his ability. His second-inning home run Sunday's 3-1 victory gave him four on the year, two more than he had hit in 173 games before this season.
In a season that had been so disappointing before the middle of June, the Cubs have received more from second base than they did in recent seasons.
Typically this season it’s been Barney delivering with Gold Glove-caliber defense. He hasn't made an error in 75 games and 606 1/3 innings going back to April. But he turned on a pitch Sunday for the home run and had a key two-out RBI in Saturday’s game.
“A lot of his hits have been big this year whether they've kept the line moving at just the right time or popping a home run,” manager Dale Sveum said. “He's done a great job. Obviously we know what he's done defensively. Like I said before, there's nobody who has been better at second base than he has.”
Barney is batting .264, one year after batting .276, but his 26 RBIs put him on pace to pass last season’s total of 43. With a workout program over the winter that has kept him stronger this season, he could even move past his projected numbers.
“Losing 20 pounds last year was hard and it’s hard on your body,” Barney said. “I have done a decent job of maintaining what I gained this year. It just gives you more energy. I wouldn’t say it has anything to do with hitting the ball, hitting home runs, anything like that, it’s just coming to the park feeling energized every day."
As for those trade rumors that suggest he could be going to a different park every day, Barney brushes them off. He wants to stay and probably will.
“Being a Cub since I’ve been drafted you don’t want to hear those things,” Barney said. “It’s nice to know people are interested but I want to be here. Whatever happens happens. It’s a business and that’s the way it works.
“You don’t look too deep into it until something happens and then you go from there. We’re really happy to still be together, we’re really happy to have (Ryan Dempster) here and hopefully he stays a Cub from the way I look at it.”