"I don't know if you can put your finger on any one [challenge that I've faced]," said Barfield, "but I mean just the challenge of trying to beat the odds. The odds aren't in your favor when you're going into professional baseball and making it to the big leagues."
The odds improved for the Padres' fourth round draft pick in 2001 when San Diego announced the deal which sent their current second baseman, Mark Loretta, to Boston on December 7.
"I was pretty excited about the Loretta trade," Barfield said. "It sounds like I'm going to get a pretty good shot in spring training. It's just more motivation to get myself in the best shape possible going into next year."
The Venezuelan-born, Texas-residing Barfield decided to skip the Arizona Fall League just so he could have that extra time to get into shape.
"It was kind of a decision just to get ready physically," he said. "I thought I could be better prepared for next season and build my body up. I lost 20 pounds last season and I've just been working to get my body in better shape."
When Barfield wasn't called up to the majors this past September, his disappointment fueled into determination. He wasn't going to let his chance get away easily.
"I was definitely hoping to get called up," he said, "and I think every player is especially when you're so close to the call-up. That kind of motivated me to work a little harder and be ready for the start of this upcoming year."
There's no question the 6-foot, 190-pounder is in shape, but his defense used to be a huge question. However, Barfield had improved so much that Tony Franklin, an infield instructor with the Padres, called him the best defensive second baseman in the system, despite his 13 errors last season.
"That makes me feel good," Barfield said of the compliment. "It was a lot of hard work; it wasn't something that just happened. I spent many instructional league hours and spring training and other hours out there with Tony Franklin just working on footwork and stuff. It's very rewarding.
"I think [consistency is] something that I really focus on; defensively, making routine plays, and offensively, not having too highs or too lows. I think for the most part I did a good job with that. I mean I got off to a slow start last year, but then I was very consistent."
When the team needs him to come up big, Barfield knows he's been consistent.
"[My situational hitting] is something I take pride in," he said, "just to have better numbers than everybody else when the game is on the line. [Hitting] with runners in scoring position or getting guys over I think is something that I do better than a lot of people.
"Every time I go out there I'm trying to prove something to myself; trying to prove that I'm a big league player. Until I become one, it's always just a chip on my shoulder. I think once I get to the big leagues it's going to be me trying to prove that I belong up there. There's always something."
Well there is one member of his family who knows what that's like. His father, Jesse Barfield, played with the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees from 1981 to 1992, with a career batting average of .256, 241 home runs and 716 RBIs.
When Jesse was playing winter ball over in Venezuela, his son was born. Though Josh was only there for a couple weeks, he still has dual citizenship. He soon found himself just rooting for whatever team for which his dad played, knowing from day one that he wanted to follow the same path.
"I couldn't think of a better job."
Even if professional baseball isn't one of the most stressful jobs on the market, Barfield is already taking a vacation with some friends who used to be in the organization.
"I can't wait. [We're] getting ready to go on a cruise on [the 12th]," he said. "We're going to Cozumel, Mexico, on Carnival Cruise Lines."
Barfield turns 23 on December 17, so are his friends the ones giving him such a birthday treat?
"There is no chance that my cheap friends would pay for my cruise," he laughed. "I wish they would, but there's no chance. I didn't even realize when I booked the cruise that it would be on my birthday. It just turned out to be a pleasant surprise."
This off season has been full of surprises; he surprised himself by taking up golf. But it might surprise others that Barfield is a chef-in-the-making. Well, he doesn't go to school for cooking, but he does enjoy it.
"[Cooking is] something I do every day, and it's very fun to me. My favorite dish to make would have to be chicken parmesan because I love to eat it, and it's fun to make. I've never really experimented. I'll sometimes crack open a cook book or download a recipe from the Internet, but that's about it."
It's no surprise to Barfield's friends that he's into movies though.
"I'm a big movie buff," he acknowledged. "If there's a new movie out, me and my friends are going to go see it. I'm not just into like sports or action movies; I'll watch anything. If it comes out in theatres, then I'll go and watch it. I'm very easily entertained."
Okay, ladies. Listen up.
"Oh yeah, I'll watch chick flicks too," he admitted. "I wouldn't mind watching ‘How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.' It's kind of corny, but I kind of like it. I'm not dating though. It's hard with the traveling and the schedule."
Barfield's one step away from the big leagues and traveling a whole lot more, playing a much tougher schedule, but he knew what he was getting into when he saw the way his dad played and lived.
"[My dad was] a guy I was pretending to be when I was a little kid," he said.
Barfield doesn't have to pretend to be anybody anymore. Everyone should already know how he has developed his own identity. But wait, there's more.
"I also have an excellent singing voice! No, I'm just joking…"
Charming, cooking, working out, golfing, reciting movie lines, traveling, playing baseball, joking—and maybe even singing—this guy sure does it all.