A’s Could Extend Daric Barton

"It's a good bet" that A's pitcher Trevor Cahill "will be signed through at least his arbitration years soon," according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.  What's more, first baseman Daric Barton "is a strong possibility" to be signed through at least his arbitration years as well.  MLBTR's Luke Adams looked at the Cahill possibility last September, so let's focus on Barton.

Barton, 25, hit .273/.393/.405 in 686 plate appearances last year, leading the American League with 110 walks.  The A's also consider Barton's defense and durability to be positives, according to Slusser.  The first baseman did deal with a few injuries in 2009, and also spent a good portion of the season in the minors due to Jason Giambi's presence.  He'll be arbitration eligible for the first time after the 2011 season.


Barton is a very unique first baseman, and new agent Dan Lozano would have a hard time getting him properly compensated through the arbitration system.  Barton's value is tied to his OBP and defense; he only has 26 home runs and 136 RBI in 1,485 career plate appearances.  How unique is it for someone to play 150 games at first base and post an OBP of at least .390 with a SLG under .410, as Barton did last year?  According to the Baseball-Reference play index, the only other player to do it in the last 30 years was Mike Hargrove for the Indians in 1980.

If my theory that a player like Barton would be a bargain in arbitration is correct, the A's should only extend him if they're getting a big discount or control of free agent years.  From Lozano's point of view a great comparable would be Billy Butler, who is a also a little short on power but still signed for $30MM over four years ($19MM for his three arbitration years, $8MM for one free agent season, and a club option for a second).  The A's might argue that Barton better resembles a healthier Nick Johnson, though Johnson's three-year extension came at a much different point in his career.  Both Butler and Johnson, though, have at least flashed 20 home run power in their careers.

21 Responses to A’s Could Extend Daric Barton Leave a Reply

  1. Lunchbox45 4 years ago

    Money Ball!

  2. Tko11 4 years ago

    He would be a monster if he could develop some power.

    • Guest 4 years ago

      Susan Slusser of the SF Chronicle reported that he lost 10 pounds of fat, and added 15 pounds of muscle over the offseason. Granted, that DOES sound a bit exaggerated. But he does look like he’s in the best shape of his career. So more power this year is definitely a possibility. They’re also not gonna let him sac-bunt on his own, anymore. So a rise in his SLG seems probable.

      I’m really glad they’re trying to lock him up before he starts getting more expensive. Because he definitely will, if he can hit 15-20 HRs this year, on top of about 40 doubles. Which is certainly within reason.

  3. RepOak 4 years ago

    Well deserved. Best defensive 1st baseman in AL. Shouldve got the goldglove…texeira who??!!

  4. Guest 4 years ago

    Good! Barton is already very solid. And he still has plenty of time to develop some power. I also like that Geren has stated they won’t let him bunt on his own, anymore, because they believe he’s too good of a hitter.

    If they can lock up Barton, Cahill and Gonzalez soon, I’ll be thrilled!

  5. Barton is a very good defensive first baseman but he’ll never be as good as me.

  6. notsureifsrs 4 years ago

    i like barton a lot, but this post is correct in that arbitrators won’t like barton much. the a’s can probably do well going year to year with him

    • Guest 4 years ago

      That might be true for 2012-2014. But that’s only if he doesn’t develop more power, which he’s likely to do. And any extensions that they offer will probably cover at least one free agent year.

      • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

        why is he likely to develop more power? he has literally never shown any, even in the minors

        • Guest 4 years ago

          I’m not saying it’s a given. But I certainly wouldn’t rule it out. If Jose Bautista can come out of nowhere and do what he did at age 29, I think it’s fair to say that 20 HRs and 40 doubles for Barton, at age 25, is within reason. Especially since they told him not to sac-bunt anymore, unless he gets the signal.

          EDIT: The moderator(s) saw fit to delete my link, even though it wasn’t hurting anything or anybody, and it was a link to the SAME WEBSITE that there is a link to in the article above. So if anyone wants to read the article about how Barton has bulked up, and has lowered his body fat %, just google ‘Susan Slusser Daric Barton pounds’, and it should be the 4th link that pops up. It’s a good read!

  7. jpshark 4 years ago

    Barton won’t need to hit 25+ HR’s to be productive with the bat. That said, he’s only 25 years old and just had his first full season in the bigs so the power should develop a bit more as he gains MLB experience. I see no reason he can’t average around 15 per season thru his prime years, and with his plate discipline and hitting ability he should be turning in solid .280/.400/.430 type lines pretty consistently. Pair that with his elite defense and your talking about a very valuable player. Remember, with his medicore offensive showing last season he was still able to provide a 4.9 WAR.

  8. Barton may not be the perfect power bat you’d like to see in a first baseman, but I really like this guy. I would love to see him stay in Oakland along with Cahill and Gio Gonzalez. Maybe I’m just feeling the effects of being a diehard fan, but I am so excited about this season. It will be interesting to see how Willingham and Matsui do; plus, I’m excited about watching Ellis and Kurt Suzuki play again. Even if a great season doesn’t happen I’ll still love watching the A’s play.

    By the way, can anyone please explain to me how the WAR stat is determined? I’ve been a baseball fan my whole life but I never really payed any attention to this stat.

  9. Guest 4 years ago

    edit: disqus is glitching up again. my bad

  10. Guest 4 years ago

    Who are the Yankees? Never heard of ’em.

  11. notsureifsrs 4 years ago

    except he can hit and play defense

  12. Guest 4 years ago

    I’ve watched Barton play close to 150 times over the past two years, including over 100 times in 2010. He’s quite good. And it doesn’t take a “metric geek” to be able to see it. He’s an incredible defender – quite easily one of the best at his position, is an on-base machine, can lay down a perfect bunt, and hits a good amount of doubles. He doesn’t have traditional power for a 1B. But aside from that, there is nothing not to like about him. It doesn’t matter if you’re a “metric geek,” or a fossil who only judges players by their AVG, HR and RBI totals. The guy is good player. And he still has youth on his side (he’s only 25). Odds are he’ll be even better in a couple years.

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