Darwin Barney will manage the AAA Nashville Sounds, the Texas Rangers’ Pacific Coast League affiliate, the team announced today.
Barney, 34, is a former major league infielder who spent the 2010-17 seasons in the majors with the Chicago Cubs, the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the Toronto Blue Jays. Barney was signed to a minor league deal by the Rangers in the spring of 2018, but opted to take his release late in camp when he was informed he wouldn’t make the major league team, and has been out of baseball since then.
You may recall that, a couple of weeks after Barney was released, Elvis Andrus broke his arm and landed on the injured list, and there was talk that Barney would have been an option to come up had he accepted an assignment to AAA, but Jon Daniels said that, while Barney (and Trevor Plouffe, who also opted to take his release rather than go to AAA) would have been in consideration had they been at AAA, bringing either back wasn’t a consideration at that point.
Which, if I recall correctly, led to at least some speculation about hard feelings or unhappiness over the decision to opt out. That apparently isn’t the case, or if it was, everyone has gotten over it.
In any case, it is interesting to me that both the AA Frisco manager and the AAA Nashville manager for 2020 are guys who are embarking on their first non-playing assignments — Bobby Wilson, the manager for Frisco, only retired from playing after the 2019 season, which he split between AAA in the majors. One usually sees managers at the upper levels being guys who have some coaching or managing experience.
In addition, the Rangers officially announced that Doug Mathis will be the team’s major league bullpen coach for 2020. That was reported prior to Christmas, but with the holidays, wasn’t announced until today.