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Rangers sign Darwin Barney to minor-league deal

The former Gold Glove winner will compete for a job on the Rangers’ bench.

New York Yankees v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

The Rangers have signed veteran utility player Darwin Barney to a minor-league deal with an invitation to major-league spring training, per a club announcement on Monday.

Barney, 32, posted a .232/.275/.327 slash line with six homers over 362 plate appearances with the Blue Jays in 2017, resulting in a 57 OPS+ that tied for the worst of his career. He won a Gold Glove at second base with the Cubs in 2012 but has seen his defensive skills at second drop off in recent seasons. Last season he had -3 defensive runs saved, good for 27th among 35 second basemen with at least 500 innings played at the position. He’s become more versatile over the course of his career, though, and he saw action at third base, shortstop, and left field in addition to second base in 2017.

Barney will have to hope that his versatility can help him earn a job on Texas’ bench, or at least put him in the conversation for a call-up if any of the Rangers’ regulars go down during the course of the season. He’ll likely be competing with 25-year-old Drew Robinson, who posted a .753 OPS while playing second base, third base, shortstop, left field, and center field as a rookie last season, and former top prospect Jurickson Profar, who is out of options this spring and therefore is in a make-or-break situation as far as remaining with the Rangers.

Barney is the latest veteran major-leaguer to join Texas on a minor-league deal over the past week. They’ve also added left-hander Jon Niese and right-hander Bartolo Colon, both of whom will attend spring training as non-roster invitees.