UPDATE, 12-6-07 at 1:12am: Chris Kline at Baseball America believes the Padres may buy the first pick from the Rays and take Barton.
UPDATE, 12-4-07 at 9:50pm: Damn it, looks like the Rays don’t want Barton after all. Baseball America has that tip plus other Rule 5 rumors.
UPDATE, 12-4-07 at 11:59am: Looks like we were on to something here, as Baseball America also thinks the Rays will grab Barton with the first pick.
FROM 12-2-07 at 7:59am:
The Rule 5 draft is coming up on Thursday, and the Rays have the first pick. They might be able to find something good – Josh Hamilton and Joakim Soria were selected last year. In ’06 the Rays sold their first pick to the A’s for $100K. Anyway, A reliable source has informed MLBTR that the Rays are eyeing 25 year-old outfielder Brian Barton from the Indians for the first pick. Barton was once fairly highly regarded, but the Tribe chose not to protect him this year.
Of course with the Rule 5 the selection has to stay on the Major League roster all year. Barton may be polished enough to do so without causing harm, as he’s posted solid numbers in Double A. Barton is a center fielder by trade. Acquiring him makes sense for Tampa Bay given their subtraction of Delmon Young and Jason Pridie.
Barton may be near MLB-ready but some have questioned his ceiling. Said Baseball Prospectus’ Kevin Goldstein: "He’s always been old for his level and many scouts see him as a mistake hitter and minor league performer as opposed to a player with long-term major league value."