Brian Barton Rumors

Quick Hits: Iwakuma, Cintron, Twins, Buehrle

Links for Monday as the Indians and Pirates claim sole possession of first place in their respective divisions…

  • Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker previews the NPB players who may be available to Major League teams after the season, including starter Hisashi Iwakuma and former big leaguer Matt Murton.
  • The Hiroshima Carp signed Brian Barton, according to a report on Sanspo. The 30-year-old infielder has experience with three MLB teams and last played in the big leagues for last year's Marlins team.
  • The agent for Alex Cintron told's Bill Ladson that his client is looking to un-retire and play in the Major Leagues again (Twitter link).
  • Twins assistant GM Rob Antony said on 1500 ESPN's "Sunday Morning SportsTalk" show that Minnesota would like to add a middle reliever and may go outside of the organization for help. Tom Pelissero has the details on the Twins, who started the day just five games out of first place.
  • White Sox Manager Ozzie Guillen told Brett Ballantini of that he and GM Kenny Williams want to re-sign Mark Buehrle after the season, when the left-hander is eligible for free agency. The White Sox have not discussed years or money with Buehrle, who has hinted at retirement in the past. Buehrle allowed two earned runs in seven innings as the White Sox beat the Royals tonight.

Minor Deals: Stokes, Diaz, Barton, Brewers

Rounding up today's minor signings:

  • The Blue Jays signed Brian Stokes, according to Matt Eddy of Baseball America (on Twitter). The 31-year-old struggled through 16 2/3 innigns for the Angels last year, but was useful for the Mets from 2008-09 before they sent him to L.A. for Gary Matthews Jr..
  • The A's signed right-hander Jonathan Ortiz, who combined a sinker and an above-average changeup to post 11.8 K/9 in the Yankees system this year, according to Eddy (all links go to Twitter).
  • The Tigers signed shortstop Argenis Diaz, who was non-tendered by the Pirates despite his strong glovework.
  • The Angels signed Ryan Braun – not the Brewers slugger, but the 30-year-old right-hander who posted a 2.20 ERA with 9.6 K/9 and 5.3 BB/9 in 57 1/3 innings at Triple-A Charlotte last year. He last pitched in the majors for the 2007 Royals.
  • The Twins signed Matt Brown, a former Angel who should provide corner infield depth.
  • The Pirates re-signed Tyler Yates, who missed last season as he recovered from Tommy John surgery.
  • Brian Barton, who hit 19 homers and stole 18 bases in the Atlantic League this year, signed with the Reds, according to Eddy (on Twitter).
  • The Cubs signed lefty Polin Trinidad, who posted a 4.81 ERA with 5.6 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 149 2/3 innings in the upper minor for the Astros last year (Twitter link).
  • The Brewers signed Edwin Maysonet and Shawn Riggans to minor league deals and invited them to Spring Training, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (on Twitter). Maysonet, 29, appeared in 46 games as a backup infielder for the Astros in 2008-09 and hit .248/.308/.329 in 356 minor league plate apperances last year. Riggans, who spent parts of four seasons with the Rays, barely played in 2010.
  • The Twins inked lefty Chuck James, tweets Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus.  The 29-year-old former Brave had rotator cuff surgery in September of 2008.
  • The Nationals announced seven signings, including previously unreported contracts for Ryan Mattheus, Michael Aubrey, and Brian Bixler.  Mattheus, a 27-year-old right-handed reliever, was acquired by the Nats at the '09 trade deadline in the Joe Beimel deal, the same month he had Tommy John surgery.  His is a Major League deal.  Aubrey, drafted 11th overall by the Indians in 2003, hit .235/.310/.495 at Triple-A this year.  Bixler, a defensive-minded utility infielder, was acquired by Washington from the Pirates in August.

Minor League Transactions

Matt Eddy of Baseball America is back with his weekly list of minor league transactions, and here are a few of the familiar names on the move…

  • RHP Chad Orvella, who last played in the majors for Tampa Bay in 2007, was released by the Angels after signing with the club earlier this month.
  • The Dodgers released outfielder Brian Barton.  Barton was one of just two non-pitchers to appear in a game last season without making a plate appearance.  He entered his only major league game of 2009 as a pinch-runner and was caught stealing.
  • Jesse Foppert was released by Florida.  Foppert's last major league game was in 2005 with San Francisco, but the right-hander has been pitching in the Giants' (and, briefly, the Mariners') system ever since.  Prior to the 2003 season, Foppert was the fifth-highest ranked prospect in the game by Baseball America. 
  • And finally, if you see a spate of "Boston Releases Papelbon" headlines, it's not an April Fool's joke.  The Red Sox released right-hander Josh Papelbon, Jon's younger brother.

Odds & Ends: Treanor, Barton, Damon, Kelly Johnson

More links as the weekend draws closer…

Odds & Ends: Nady, Doumit, Boyer

Links for Tuesday…

Cardinals Acquire Blaine Boyer For Brian Barton

According to a press release, the Cardinals acquired reliever Blaine Boyer from the Braves for outfielder Brian Barton.

Boyer, 27, was designated for assignment on Saturday to make room for Jo-Jo Reyes.  When he's right, Boyer is able to get strikeouts and groundballs.  Last year he dealt with a sore knee.

Barton, 26, was taken by the Cardinals from the Indians in the 2007 Rule 5 draft.  He hit .268/.354/.392 in 179 plate appearances last year while playing mostly left field.  Barton, an aerospace engineering major in college, was a well-regarded five-tool player prior to a 2006 knee injury.  Atlanta's less-crowded outfield should present a better opportunity than St. Louis, though Barton will initially head to Triple A.

Baseball Blogs Weigh In: Rule 5 Draftees

Last year the Reds selected Josh Hamilton in the Rule 5 draft despite only 23 games above Single-A and only 15 games anywhere since 2002 (actually the Cubs picked Hamilton and traded him to the Reds the same day). Hamilton went on to hit .292-19-47 in 90 games. This year, 18 players were chosen in the Rule 5 draft (14 pitchers). These players must remain on the 25-man roster all season or be offered back to their original club for $25K. By my count, three players (Sergio Valenzuela, Lincoln Holdzkom, Jose Capellan) have already been offered back to their original clubs (Capellan was picked up on waivers by a third team during the process). Hamilton is the rare case of a position player sticking with his new club as it is far easier to hide a developing pitcher and still get him playing time in the bullpen than it is on the bench.While it is rare for position players to stick, we have already learned that the Cardinals may keep Brian Barton as a fifth outfielder. As opening day rosters begin to take shape, let’s take a look at what is being said in the Blogosphere about the chances for the Rule draftees.

  • Tim Lahey (RHP, CHC/MIN): Bleed Cubbie Blue sees the Cubs working out a trade with the Twins that would allow them to send Lahey to AAA. In fact, they speculate that Lahey will be the PTBNL in the Craig Monroe deal.
  • Evan Meek (RHP, PIT/TB): Bucs Dugout predicts that Meek will at least start the season with the Pirates before being offered back to the Rays.
  • Randor Bierd (RHP, BAL/DET): Bird Brain projects Bierd to make the roster and hopes the O’s give him every chance to stick.
  • Jose Capellan (LHP, CIN/BOS): Capellan was originally selected by the Giants but was just placed on waivers. The Reds picked him up (Rule 5 rules still apply) and Obsessive Giants Compulsive is surprised the Giants let him go.
  • Sergio Valenzuela (RHP, CIN/ATL): Valenzuela was sold back to the Braves after not making a single appearance in a spring game. The Braves then traded Valenzuela to a team in the Mexican League. Which begs the question…Are "future considerations" from the Mexican League worth the $25K the Braves dropped to bring him back? Talking Chop finds the entire situation funny and is not surprised that Valenzuela did not stick with the Reds.
  • Brian Barton (OF, STL/CLE): Cardinals GM is predicting Barton to be on the opening day roster with Juan Gonzalez starting the season in AAA.
  • R.A. Dickey (RHP, SEA/MIN): Detect-O-Vision is infatuated with the knuckleballer but notes that Dickey "has a looooooooooong way to go".
  • Steven Register (RHP, NYM/COL): Mets Fever thinks Register might actually stick by earning the final spot in the bullpen.

Cork Gaines writes for Rays Index and can be reached here.

Cardinals Leaning Towards Keeping Barton

Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch notes that Brian Barton is one player that may not switch teams prior to the regular season. Barton was selected by the Cardinals with the 10th pick of the Rule 5 draft from the Indians. The Cardinals are said to be deciding between keeping Barton or 2-time MVP Juan Gonzalez who is battling an abdominal injury.

"When you have a (Rule 5) guy, if there’s a way that guy can fit on your ballclub, you try to figure a way if you see a legitimate major-league future," La Russa said.

While Gonzalez’ spring numbers are solid (.308-1-5), Barton has also played well (.350) and offers the team more position flexibility as Gonzalez has been used primarily as a DH in the spring.

Barton must be offered back to the Indians for $25K or be kept on the 25-man roster all season. The Cardinals could try to work out a trade with the Indians that would allow them to option Barton to the minors, but Strauss says this path is unlikely considering how well Barton is playing.

Cork Gaines writes for Rays Index and can be reached here.

Rule 5 Action: Cards Take Barton, Cut Taguchi

The Rule 5 draft isn’t my cup of tea, but I’d like to direct you to Baseball America for coverage.  By the way the Cardinals took Brian Barton.  To open up a spot for him, they released So Taguchi.

Padres To Acquire First Rule 5 Pick, Take Barton?

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."