Daric Barton Rumors

Minor MLB Transactions: 7-3-15

Today’s roundup of minor transactions from around the league…

  • Outfielder Xavier Avery exercised a July 1 opt out clause and was granted his release by the Tigers, reports James Schmehl of MLive.com (via Twitter). Formerly one of the Orioles’ top prospects, the fleet-footed Avery has enjoyed a very nice season with Triple-A Toledo to this point, hitting .305/.371/.393, although his typically strong success rate is stolen bases is down this year. The 25-year-old has swiped 14 bases but been caught 10 times. A former second-round pick, Avery has eclipsed the 30-steal mark four times throughout his minor league career.
  • Also via Schmehl, it seems that Avery’s spot will be filled by another once-promising outfield prospect, as he reports that Trayvon Robinson has signed a minor league pact with Detroit and is headed to Toledo. Once a well-regarded prospect in the Dodgers’ system, Robinson’s career has stalled a bit in recent seasons. He’s spent the early portion of the season with the Diamondbacks’ Triple-A affiliate, batting .276/.357/.448. He’s a career .258/.332/.423 hitter in parts of five Triple-A seasons. Robinson reached the Majors in 2011-12 with the Mariners but posted a .602 OPS in 319 total plate appearances.
  • First baseman Daric Barton has been released from the Blue Jays‘ Triple-A affiliate, tweets Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith. Barton, a longtime member of the Athletics, batted just .196/.282/.299 this season at Triple-A Buffalo. Still 29 years of age, Barton served as Oakland’s everyday first baseman in the 2010 season and led the American League with 110 walks that year. He’s slashed .216/.323/.284 in 600 big league plate appearances since that time, however.
  • The Blue Jays announced yesterday that the recently designated Steven Tolleson has cleared outright waivers and been outrighted to Buffalo. The 31-year-old utility man was designated on July 1 after his rehab assignment ended in the minors and Toronto had to make a call on his roster status. He’s been outrighted in the past and will therefore have the option to refuse the assignment in favor of free agency.

Blue Jays Release Ramon Santiago

The Blue Jays have released infielder Ramon Santiago, manager John Gibbons told reporters, including Sportsnet’s Barry Davis (Twitter link). Daric Barton was also reassigned to Minor League camp.

The 35-year-old Santiago got off to a scorching start this spring with five hits in 12 at-bats, but he unfortunately broke his collarbone about two weeks ago — an injury that was said at the time to sideline him for 10 weeks. Santiago hit .246/.343/.324 with the Reds last season and has significant experience at second base, shortstop and third base.

Barton’s reassignment to Minor League camp would seem to bode well for Justin Smoak‘s case to make the team. Most have expected Smoak to receive a look as a platoon option at first base (hitting from the left side), and with Barton’s hope of making the team now dashed, Smoak should be in line to indeed fill that role.

Blue Jays Sign Daric Barton

The Blue Jays have added first baseman Daric Barton on a minor league deal, the team announced via press release. Barton joins a mix of secondary first base and bench bats that includes Justin Smoak and Chris Colabello.

Barton, 29, saw only 64 plate appearances for the Athletics last year, his lowest tally in eight big league seasons. He struggled badly at the plate in the bigs, though his numbers at Triple-A (.261/.371/.411 over 375 plate appearances) were better. Since a big 2010 season as a regular, Barton has managed only a .216/.323/.284 slash over 600 trips to the plate at the MLB level.

Minor Moves: Free Agents, Blue Jays

Here are the latest minor moves from around the game.

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.