Daric Barton Rumors

Minor Moves: Barton, Kroenke, Lerew

We’ll keep tabs on the day’s minor moves here …

  • Athletics first baseman Daric Barton has accepted his assignment to Triple-A rather than electing free agency, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com. Barton was recently designated for assignment and then outrighted after the A’s added Kyle Blanks via trade.
  • The Nationals have purchased the contract of lefty Zach Kroenke from the independent Somerset Patriots, the Atlantic League club announced on Twitter. Kroenke, a fifth-round pick of the Yankees back in 2005, appeared in seven games over the 2010 and 2011 seasons with the Diamondbacks. The 30-year-old, who has spent time starting and in relief, worked to a 4.51 ERA in 129 2/3 innings with the Brewers’ top affiliate last year.
  • Righty Anthony Lerew‘s contract has been purchased by the Angels from the York Revolution, the independent league club announced on Twitter (hat tip to Jason Bristol of CBS 21 News Harrisburg). The 31-year-old has seen action in parts of five big league seasons with the Braves and Royals, but hasn’t cracked the majors since 2010. Once considered a top-100 prospect with Atlanta, Lerew has managed just a 7.48 ERA in 61 1/3 MLB frames, though he has compiled a 3.90 mark in 330 1/3 Triple-A innings (most of them as a starter). Lerew saw some action in Japan and Korea over 2011-13 before returning to the United States this year with the Revolution, for whom he had thrown 24 innings of 2.25 ERA ball.
  • As MLBTR’s DFA Tracker shows, two players remain in DFA limbo at present, both of whom figure to draw some interest: Jeff Keppinger (White Sox) and Justin Maxwell (Royals).

Outrighted To Triple-A: Rodriguez, Germano

We’ll keep track of today’s outright assignments here..

  • Athletics first baseman Daric Barton cleared waivers and has been outrighted to Triple-A Sacramento, according to Joe Stiglich of CSNBayArea.com (on Twitter).  Barton, 28, 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.
  • The Marlins announced that they have outrighted Henry Rodriguez to Triple-A New Orleans. Rodriguez, designated for assignment on Wednesday, displayed what have become typical command problems for him in 2014, walking five batters in just 1 2/3 innings pitched for the Fish.
  • The Rangers have outrighted Justin Germano to Triple-A Round Rock, according to the MLB.com transactions page.  Texas designated the right-hander for assignment on Wednesday to make room on the roster for Scott Baker.  Germano appeared in just two games for the Rangers, yielding seven runs in 5 1/3 innings of work. The veteran swingman has seen time in the Major Leagues in each of the past five seasons and owns a career 5.40 ERA in 330 innings pitched.

Athletics Designate Daric Barton For Assignment

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.



Athletics Avoid Arbitration With Daric Barton

6:35pm: Barton's deal is worth $1.25M, Scout.com's Kiley McDaniel tweets.

2:18pm: The A's announced that they have avoided arbitration with first baseman Daric Barton by agreeing to a one-year deal. The San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser tweets that the two sides agreed to a non-guaranteed deal. Barton is a client of the MVP Sports Group.

While terms of the deal have yet to be disclosed, MLBTR's Matt Swartz projected the former first-rounder to earn just $1.4MM in arbitration this offseason. Barton's 120 plate appearances in 2013 were the fewest he's totaled at the Major League level since debuting in 2007, but he managed a respectable .269/.350/.375 batting line. Barton has never developed much power, but he's an ultra-patient hitter at the plate, as evidenced by his career .360 OBP and 14.1 percent walk rate.

As can be seen in MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker, the A's still have seven players that are eligible for arbitration: Jim Johnson, Luke Gregerson, Brandon Moss, Josh Reddick, Jed Lowrie, John Jaso and Jesse Chavez.


Athletics Will Tender Contract To Daric Barton

The A's have already informed first baseman Daric Barton that he will be tendered a contract for the 2014 season, reports Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle (on Twitter). In a second tweet, she adds that the A's appear likely to tender contracts to all of their remaining arbitration eligible players.

The cost to retain Barton, 28, will be minimal. MLBTR's Matt Swartz projects the former first-rounder to earn just $1.4MM in arbitration this offseason. Barton's 120 plate appearances this season were the fewest he's totaled at the Major League level since debuting in 2007, but he managed a respectable .269/.350/.375 batting line.

Barton has never developed much power, but he's an ultra-patient hitter at the plate, as evidenced by his career .360 OBP and 14.1 percent walk rate. He also fields his position very well, per Ultimate Zone Rating and The Fielding Bible. Barton showed his upside in a 2010 season that saw him bat .273/.393/.405 with 10 homers and an American League leading 110 walks.


Tender Deadline Notes: Barton, Stewart, Nix, Kelly

Tomorrow at 10:59pm CT marks the deadline for teams to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players. Most arbitration-eligible players will be tendered, since players typically receive less in the arbitration system than they would be able to get in free agency. But a few dozen will likely be non-tendered, expanding the free-agent pool.

Clearly, that pool won't include any current stars. But it's likely a couple non-tenders will be contributors in 2014. Ben Nicholson-Smith of SportsNet.ca tweets a reminder that last year's crop of non-tenders included outfielder Nate Schierholtz, who ended up having a solid season with the Cubs, and reliever Brian Wilson. The list also included infielder Mark Reynolds, who landed a $6MM contract with the Indians, and Manny Parra, who posted a solid season out of the Reds' bullpen.

MLBTR will be updated with non-tender information throughout the day tomorrow. For more, you can check out MLBTR's list of non-tender candidates, as well as our arbitration tracker and list of tenders and non-tenders. The latter two resources will be updated as news rolls in. In the meantime, here are a couple notes on what to expect tomorrow.

  • One player who could be non-tendered is Daric Barton, who is the Athletics' longest-tenured player, as MLB.com's Jane Lee points out. Barton arrived in Oakland's 2004 trade of Mark Mulder. He never really became the high-OBP first baseman the A's were likely hoping he'd be, with only one strong full-time season (2010) to his credit, but the A's did get Dan Haren in that trade, so it turned out well for them anyway. Barton hit .269/.350/.375 in limited duty with the A's in 2013, spending most of the season at Triple-A Sacramento.
  • The Yankees could non-tender catcher Chris Stewart and infielder Jayson Nix, writes MLB.com's Bryan Hoch. The Yanks' signings of Brian McCann and Brendan Ryan don't bode well for Stewart or Nix, particularly given that GM Brian Cashman has said he will tender catcher Francisco Cervelli.
  • The Tigers' only non-tender candidate is utilityman Don Kelly, writes MLB.com's Jason Beck. Working in Kelly's favor are his low salary (MLBTR's projects he'll make $900K) and the fact that, even if they tender him a contract, the Tigers would be able to release him in spring training and pay only a fraction of his deal. It's currently unclear where Kelly will fit on the Tigers' roster next year. Kelly hit .222/.309/.343 in part-time duty for the Tigers last season.

AL West Notes: Angels, M’s Ownership, Barton

The Mariners/Angels game on Sunday at Angel Stadium was twice delayed due to a swarm of bees, as chronicled by MLB.com's Greg Johns.  The initial delay took 23 minutes, as the bees moved from the infield to the outfield and were eventually chased off with the help of John Poto, an apiarist who was attending the game as a fan.  "There was a softball-sized bee colony on the ground. It was amazing. I've never seen that before. That dude just came out of the stands, 'It's OK, I'm a beekeeper.' It was like a Seinfeld episode," C.J. Wilson said.  Poto's assistance didn't go unrewarded, as Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times tweets that Poto received a ball signed by Mike Trout.

Here's the latest buzz (#ObviousPunAlert) from around the AL West…

  • The Angels will try to re-sign Jason Vargas and will likely bid on Masahiro Tanaka as the club tries to fix its pitching situation for next season, Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times writes.  While the Halos are 21-8 over their last 29 games, DiGiovanna warns that the team shouldn't let this strong finish convince them that their roster doesn't need upgrades for 2014, particularly in the pitching staff.
  • Mariners team chairman and CEO Howard Lincoln says that team majority owners Nintendo of America "has no plans" to sell their shares, Patti Payne of the Puget Sound Business Journal reports.  There had been some questions about the future of the club's ownership since Hiroshi Yamauchi's passing earlier this week, but Lincoln says that the current Nintendo management and the Mariners' group of minority owners are as committed as ever to the club.
  • The Mariners' ownership news isn't surprising to Ryan Divish of the Tacoma News Tribune, who notes that Nintendo isn't apt to walk away from a profitable business and that Lincoln has enough influence to remain CEO for as long as he wishes.
  • Daric Barton has revived his career and likely earned a spot on the Athletics' postseason roster after a strong September performance, Carl Steward of the Bay Area News Group writes.  Barton, the longest-tenured player on the Oakland roster, struggled in 2011-12 and was twice designated for assignment earlier this year.  After being recalled from Triple-A on August 26, however, Barton has hit .319/.386/.431 in 83 PA.  "He's always had the advantage of the G.M. being a big fan of his," general manager Billy Beane said.  "I think he has all the skills that sometimes don't necessarily show up in the boxscore….And he's really grown up a lot. To see him contribute and be part of these last few weeks has been great and satisfying for all of us in the organization."
  • From earlier today on MLBTR, we published a collection of Rangers notes.

AL West Notes: Rangers, Reddick, Kendrys Morales

On this date 17 years ago, A's outfielder Brian Lesher became the first Belgian to play in a MLB game contributing a RBI single off Andy Pettitte (who went on to win a career-high 21 games and finished second to Toronto's Pat Hentgen in the AL Cy Young voting that year) as Oakland beat the Yankees 6-4. Lesher would go on to play parts of five seasons with the A's, Mariners, and Blue Jays posting a slash line of .224/.275/.380 with nine home runs and 38 RBI's in 288 plate appearances (108 games). To this day, Lesher is the only Belgian ever to appear in a MLB contest. In other news and notes from the AL West: 

  • Rangers Assistant GM Thad Levine told Jim Bowden and Jim Duquette of MLB Network Radio (via Bowden on Twitter), if the club is going to make a trade before August 31st (players acquired after this date are ineligible for the post-season), it will be for a starting pitcher.
  • Levine adds (again from a Bowden tweet) the Rangers have been searching the waiver wire actively, but most of the quality players are being claimed before them.
  • A's outfielder Josh Reddick left today's game against the Orioles with discomfort in his right wrist and he thinks it's 50-50 as to whether he lands on the disabled list, reports the San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser. John Hickey of the Bay Area News Group tweets Daric Barton was pulled from Triple-A Sacramento's game after one at-bat and may join the A's to replace Reddick. Slusser isn't surprised Barton would get the call over outfielders Michael Taylor and Michael Choice because Barton was slated to join the team when rosters expand September 1st and he plays first base very well allowing Brandon Moss to move to the outfield (all Twitter links). The A's 40-man roster currently sits at 39, so Barton could be added without a corresponding move.  
  • A reunion between Kendrys Morales and the Angels would not be shocking, if the pending free agent doesn't re-sign with the Mariners, tweets the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo. The Mariners acquired Morales, hitting .283/.339/.450 with 17 home runs in 522 plate appearances this year, from the Angels last December for left-hander Jason Vargas
  • Earlier today, Angels manager Mike Scioscia denied reports he has philosophical differences with GM Jerry Dipoto.

Minor Moves: Cotts, Boyer, Barton

The latest minor moves…

  • The Rangers plan to purchase the contract of lefty reliever Neal Cotts if tonight's game is played, tweets Anthony Andro of FOX Sports Southwest.  The 33-year-old hasn't seen big league action since 2009, but he's been dominant in 23 Triple-A innings this year.  The Rangers already have an open spot on their 40-man roster for him.
  • The Hanshin Tigers have a basic agreement with righty reliever Blaine Boyer, according to Sanspo (via Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker). Boyer, 31, pitched 15 relief innings for the Royals' Triple-A affiliate before exercising his out clause to pursue the opportunity in Japan.
  • The Mariners signed 17-year-old Brazilian righty Daniel Missaki, reports Ben Badler of Baseball America.  Badler notes that he was the youngest player in the 2013 World Baseball Classic.
  • The Athletics announced that first baseman Daric Barton cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A, after he was designated for assignment Saturday to open a spot for Chris Young.  He's earning $1.1MM this year, which may have limited interest.  Barton led the American League in walks as a 24-year-old in 2010, but has battled injuries since.  He's still a walk machine at Triple-A, though, with a .422 OBP through 128 plate appearances.
  • The Angels outrighted outfielder Scott Cousins to Triple-A yesterday, according to the Pacific Coast League transactions page.  Cousins had been designated for assignment on Saturday to make room for Chris Nelson.
  • The Yankees outrighted infielder Alberto Gonzalez to Triple-A yesterday, according to the International League transactions page.  Gonzalez had been designated for assignment on Saturday to make room for Reid Brignac.
  • Three players currently reside in DFA limbo: Jon Rauch of the Marlins, Derek Lowe of the Rangers, and Michael Bowden of the Cubs.  Rauch and Lowe figure to be released by their clubs in the coming days, while Bowden will have to decide whether to accept an outright assignment if he clears waivers.

East Notes: Braves, Mets, Ellsbury, Yankees

Braves lefty Eric O'Flaherty has a torn UCL and will likely need surgery, David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports (on Twitter). GM Frank Wren tells O'Brien (also via Twitter) that the Braves are unlikely to make an immediate trade to replace O'Flaherty in the bullpen, noting that Wren doesn't expect other teams to trade top relievers this early in the season. Here are more notes from around the East divisions.

  • The Mets have not yet discussed the possibility of acquiring first baseman Daric Barton, Joel Sherman of the New York Post says (on Twitter). Sherman writes (also via Twitter) that a Mets employee says the team will likely at least consider Barton, however. The Athletics designated Barton for assignment Saturday afternoon. Mets first baseman Ike Davis has struggled terribly this season, posting a line of .160/.245/.267.
  • Red Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury might be distracted by his impending free agency, Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald suggests. Lauber quotes Mike Napoli, who discusses how pressures from friends and family during a contract year can take a player out of his comfort zone. "I could see where guys, because of that free agent year, if you start off rough, it’s like you want to do so good that you’re overdoing it," Napoli says. Shane Victorino says that he hasn't noticed Ellsbury overburdening himself, however. Ellsbury is hitting .247/.312/.346 so far this year.
  • Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner says this season has been "amazing" so far, Andy McCullough of the Star Ledger reports. "I didn’t but into the doomsday scenario that many people did. Because I knew that we had some good kids at Triple A. But more importantly, I knew that the guys we got in the offseason were veterans," Steinbrenner says. "[T]his is what you expect veterans to do." Newly-acquired veterans Vernon Wells, Travis Hafner and Lyle Overbay have played key roles in the Yankees' 27-16 start.
  • Steinbrenner tells McCullough he won't address manager Joe Girardi's contract until after the season, but Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News argues that Girardi deserves a new contract now, given his performance as the team has struggled with injuries.