The Athletics have designated first baseman Daric Barton for assignment, reports Jane Lee of MLB.com (via Twitter). He will be replaced on the club’s active roster by the just-acquired Kyle Blanks, who is expected to take over Barton’s first base platoon role.
Of course, the 28-year-old Barton was occupying a somewhat curious role with the A’s: despite being a left-handed hitter, he was sharing time at first with another lefty in Brandon Moss. While Barton was theoretically supposed to take his plate appearances against opposing southpaws — he has significant reverse platoon splits over his career — both players saw most of their action against righties.
More importantly, Barton was ineffective against pitchers of all kinds, with a .158/.234/.175 line and no home runs in 64 trips to the dish in 2014. Barton has yet to repeat his outstanding 2010 campaign, when he played in 159 games and put up a .273/.393/.405 line while leading the league with 110 walks. He was, however, reasonably useful last year, with a .725 OPS in 120 plate appearances.
Barton has been with the Athletics organization since 2005, playing parts of eight seasons at the MLB level while also appearing at Triple-A Sacramento in seven different seasons. As Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle notes on Twitter, Barton seems fairly likely to clear outright waivers (if and when he is placed). While he would have the right to reject an assignment should that occur, Slusser adds that Barton has elected to stay with the A’s in the past. Of course, he would now be competing with Nate Freiman for playing time and a potential call-up at Triple-A.