Daric Barton Rumors
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Athletics have designated first baseman Daric Barton for assignment, the team reports (on Twitter). The move clears roster space for outfielder Chris Young, who had been on the disabled list. Young's return allows the Athletics to move Brandon Moss from the outfield back to first base.
The A's had previously designated Barton for assignment in late March, but he cleared waivers and stayed in the organization, then made his way back to the 40-man roster when the A's purchased his contract March 8. He has received 21 at bats with the A's since then, hitting .143/.217/.286. Barton has hit .248/.359/.370 in his career.
The Orioles claimed righty Josh Stinson off waivers today, according to an Athletics press release. The Orioles transferred Tsuyoshi Wada to the 60-day DL to make room on the 40-man roster for Stinson. The A's also noted that first baseman Daric Barton cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A.
The A's had claimed Stinson off waivers from the Brewers last week, but designated him for assignment yesterday upon their claim of Will Harris from the Rockies. Stinson, 25, appeared briefly in the Majors last year. He posted a 3.16 ERA, 5.6 K/9, 4.4 BB/9, and 0.43 HR/9 in 145 1/3 Triple-A innings. The former Mets draft pick will work out of the rotation at Triple-A Norfolk.
Barton, 27, was a first-round pick of the Cardinals in 2003. He did his thing at Triple-A last year, hitting .255/.411/.425 in 336 plate appearances. Barton led the American League with 110 walks in 2010, but a shoulder injury has affected him since.
The Athletics have claimed pitcher Danny Otero from the Yankees and designated first baseman Daric Barton and pitcher Travis Blackley for assignment, according to a team news release. Earlier in the day, the A's also claimed pitcher Josh Stinson from the Brewers.
Barton has collected 1,583 major-league at bats, all with the A's, hitting .249/.360/.371. He hit .204/.338/.292 in part-time duty in 2012. Blackley pitched in 102 2/3 innings with the A's in 2012, posting a 3.86 ERA with 6.0 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9.
We can expect Mike Trout, Bryce Harper and Clayton Kershaw to be among the game's best players in 2018, Dan Szymborski of ESPN Insider writes. Szymborski’s 30-player list includes many established MLB stars and some minor leaguers who have yet to make an impact at the highest level. Here are some more links for Thursday afternoon...
- Scouts say the Braves are looking for a left-handed hitting bench player, ESPN.com's Buster Olney reports (on Twitter). The left-handed hitting Jordan Schafer and the switch-hitting Ramiro Pena are internal candidates to make the Braves as bench players.
- Red Sox manager John Farrell said no third base additions are "being contemplated or imminent," Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal reports (on Twitter). Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reported this morning that there’s a belief free agent third baseman Scott Rolen would be interested in talking to the Red Sox.
- Athletics first baseman Daric Barton didn't expect that Oakland would want him back this offseason, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle writes. Barton, who hit just .204/.338/.292 in 46 games last season, re-signed with the A's on a non-guaranteed $1.1MM deal.
Zach Links contributed to this post.