Daric Barton Rumors
Links from around the majors, as Manny Ramirez takes on one of his former teams and the regular season draws one day closer...
- Doug Davis, who will throw for teams in Arizona on Thursday, is “getting a lot of interest,” agent Steve Canter told Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com. Canter declined to list interested teams, but GM Doug Melvin says we shouldn’t expect a reunion with the Brewers.
- Daric Barton switched agents to Dan Lozano, according to ESPN.com's Keith Law (on Twitter). Brian Wilson, Kurt Suzuki, Brett Wallace and Jason Repko recently did the same. To keep up to date on each agency's client list, check out our new Agency Database.
- UCLA right-hander Gerrit Cole sits atop Law's revised list of top 2011 draft prospects. For more on Cole and other top draft eligible amateurs, check out our Draft Prospect Q&A series.
- Dave Cameron of FanGraphs is surprised that more teams aren’t interested in Kevin Slowey, who has proven himself as a back-of-the-rotation starter.
MLBTR sends its condolences to the friends and family of Ernie Tyler, who passed away on Thursday night. The long-time umpire attendant at Baltimore's Memorial Stadium and Camden Yards worked 3819 consecutive games between Opening Day 1960 and July 27, 2007, only halting his streak when the Orioles' other iron man (Cal Ripken Jr.) invited Tyler to Cooperstown for Ripken's induction into the Hall of Fame. Tyler, 86, is survived by his wife and 11 children.
Some news from the Junior Circuit...
- The Yankees are still considering signing Kevin Millwood, tweets SI.com's Jon Heyman. We heard about New York's interest in the right-hander last week, and recent rumors have linked him to Cleveland, though the Indians don't want to pay Millwood the $4-5MM he's seeking.
- In a recent online chat with fans, Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star said it is "unlikely bordering on inconceivable" that the Royals will look to move Joakim Soria at the trade deadline. We heard earlier this winter that K.C. was firm on keeping Soria in the fold, despite interest from a few other clubs.
- Fangraphs' Dave Cameron argues Andy MacPhail's recent statement that Alex Rodriguez's contract with the Rangers was "the worst signing in the history of baseball." As Cameron notes, the problem wasn't Rodriguez, but rather the fact that the Rangers surrounded him with mediocre talent.
- Is Daric Barton a better first baseman than Ryan Howard and Mark Teixeira? Citing wOBA, defense and contracts, ESPN.com's Evan Brunell believes so.
- John Tomase of the Boston Herald profiles Te Wera Bishop, who is trying to become the first New Zealand-born player in Major League history. Bishop, 17, starred for New Zealand's national softball team before being signed to a $60K contract by the Red Sox.
Let's discuss the latest on the Athletics, with some help from Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle...
- The A's haven't set their budget yet. Slusser expects payroll flexibility to be created by the team letting Ben Sheets leave, declining Eric Chavez's club option, and non-tendering Jack Cust and Gabe Gross. We looked at the team's 12 arbitration eligible players a week ago and suggested that Jeremy Hermida, Conor Jackson, Kevin Kouzmanoff, and Travis Buck may also be cut.
- More uncertainty comes in the form of club options for Mark Ellis ($6MM with a $500K buyout) and Coco Crisp ($5.75MM with a $500K buyout). Slusser writes that GM Billy Beane expects to have conversations about that next week.
- Wrote Slusser: "Beane emphasized that he doesn't want to add power at the expense of defense, noting in particular that the team has no intention of moving Daric Barton from first base." The A's could look at a slew of DH options beyond Cust. But perhaps Beane's statement rules out a Carlos Pena reunion.
- Beane is optimistic about getting approval for a new stadium, but it's only a gut feeling. He believes MLB's blue-ribbon panel will issue its report soon.
No team has hit fewer home runs than the A’s (89), so GM Billy Beane and the rest of the team’s front office will be interested in adding power bats this offseason, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.
"It's an obvious area to address, and between now and the offseason, we'll have a number of conversations about how best to fill that need," Beane said.
Daric Barton and Jack Cust have combined for tons of walks (152), but few homers (18) from traditionally power-oriented positions, first base and DH. Both players have provided value, but the A’s could trade Barton or non-tender Cust to make room for a more powerful bat. Oakland should be able to spend on power, since the Ben Sheets and Eric Chavez deals are among the contracts coming off the books in 2011.
The A’s, one of just three MLB teams whose home run leader has not reached the 20-homer plateau, can consider free agent first basemen and DHs including Adam Dunn, Paul Konerko, Carlos Pena, Manny Ramirez and (if their options aren’t picked up), David Ortiz, Adam LaRoche and Vladimir Guerrero. Many power hitting first basemen and DHs will be available as free agents, but the A's could just as easily pursue pop at a different position.
7:51pm: Scott Lauber of The Boston Herald says that if the Red Sox are interested, they figure to sign Delgado fairly soon. Delgado's agent David Sloane told Amalie Benjamin of The Boston Globe that his client could sign "as soon as tonight," but that he'd need a week or two in the minors to get himself ready (Twitter link).
Meanwhile, WEEI.com's Alex Speier heard from a source that the Sox were simply "doing their homework" by working Delgado out today.
FRIDAY, 3:02pm: Delgado worked out for the Red Sox today, agent David Sloane told Mark Hale of the New York Post. Sloane says Delgado has worked out for multiple clubs.
THURSDAY, 7:06PM: Daric Barton could be another possible pick-up for the Sox, as Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe tweets that the Oakland first baseman was put on waivers today. Barton's .377 OBP fits right in with Boston's patient plate mentality, though he only has a .741 OPS against right-handers.
6:17PM: Two sources tell WEEI.com's Rob Bradford that Delgado "seems a reach" for Boston and that "he is worth a dice roll, but not for the Sox" given both Delgado and Lowell's lengthy injury histories.
5:56PM: With the news of Kevin Youkilis' season-ending thumb surgery breaking today, the Red Sox are suddenly in the market for a left-handed first baseman to platoon with Mike Lowell. Boston GM Theo Epstein said that while the team is looking, a move won't come too quickly since the team first wants a chance to gauge Lowell's effectiveness, reports the Boston Globe's Amalie Benjamin (via Twitter).
Carlos Delgado, who has been linked to Boston already, will be working out for the Red Sox "in the next couple of days," according to John Tomase of the Boston Herald. Delgado might be the most realistic option on the market given that the free agent slugger is available for a reasonable price and can be acquired without the hassle of the waiver wire. Tomase's Herald cohort Scott Lauber tweets along word from Delgado's agent that the veteran first baseman "would be thrilled" by any interest from the club.
Nate Taylor of the Boston Globe posits Casey Kotchman's name as another potential fit. Kotchman, who was dealt from Boston to Seattle for Bill Hall last January, has a .656 OPS in 296 plate appearances for the Mariners this season and just a .232/.300/.405 line against right-handers. Given Kotchman's struggles, his M's teammate Russell Branyan (and Branyan's .868 OPS against right-handers this season) might be the more attractive option for the Red Sox, though the club might have a difficult time picking Branyan up without another AL team putting in a claim first.
As for internal replacements for Youkilis, Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal reports that Epstein didn't seem enthused about calling up Lars Anderson. "Right now, the things Lars is working on and the adjustments he's making, that type of work is best done at Triple-A," Epstein told MacPherson. Anderson, ranked as the 87th-best prospect in the game by Baseball America's preseason rankings, has not stood out at the Triple-A level this year, managing just a .740 OPS in 338 PA for Pawtucket.
Links for Saturday..
- White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf told Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times (via Twitter) that the team has the financial freedom to add pieces, though he added the team "might be good enough the way it is". Meanwhile, Reinsdorf said that GM Kenny Williams has the power to fire the manager, though that isn't in his plans, tweets Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune.
- Fred Lewis told Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle that his improved performance in Toronto isn't a result of a change of scenery. Lewis is OPSing .799 for the Blue Jays, a marked improvement over his OPS of .738 for the Giants in 2009.
- ESPN's Jerry Crasnick (via Twitter) wonders aloud if Nolan Ryan's recent comments regarding Roy Oswalt could be considered tampering.
- Ken Davidoff of Newsday tweets that a Mets scout was on hand to watch Lee last night, though it was said to be part of "normal coverage".
- Joel Sherman of The New York Post says that despite all the talk about Cliff Lee, the Yankees might need to fixate on adding a bat between now and the trade deadline.
- Speaking of Lee, Ryan Divish of The News Tribune mentions that the lefty shrugs off all the trade talk. “It’s out of my control,” said Lee. “That’s a better question for Jack [Zduriencik]. He’s the one who makes those decisions, but I don’t.”
- The Astros are pleased with how negotiations with top draft pick Delino DeShields Jr. are going, reports Bernardo Fallas of The Houston Chronicle. Houston selected DeShields with the eighth overall pick last week.
- Daric Barton told Derrick Goold of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he's grateful for being included in the Mark Mulder trade because it created an opportunity for him. "For me, it was probably the best move that could have happened to me," said Barton. "I was catching then and (Yadier Molina) was back there then, and some guy by the name of (Albert) Pujols was at first. Obviously, I could never fill his shoes."
7:41pm: The Miami Herald has a list of eight players who agreed to terms with the A's for 2009. Daric Barton, Kurt Suzuki, Dallas Braden, Dana Eveland, Gio Gonzalez, Sean Gallagher, Henry Rodriguez and Landon Powell all agreed to one-year contracts.
12:27pm: According to a press release, via the Miami Herald, the Brewers have inked Tony Gwynn Jr., Manny Parra, Hernan Iribarren and Chase Wright to one-year contracts.
11:48am: The Orange County Register's Bill Plunkett has a few more from the Angels. Howie Kendrick, Dustin Moseley, Kevin Jepsen and Matt Brown have been signed to '09 contracts.
9:53am: MLB.com's Steve Gilbert reports that the Diamondbacks have agreed to one-year contracts with Yusmeiro Petit, Leo Rosales and Kyler Newby. They'll each make around $400K this year.
9:50am: According to a press release, via the Miami Herald, the Cubs have now settled with all 20 of their pre-arbitration players. Sean Marshall, Mike Fontenot and Micah Hoffpauir are some of the bigger names on the list.
9:49am: Jose De Jesus Ortiz of the Houston Chronicle reports that the Astros have renewed Hunter Pence's contract. He'll earn $450K in '09.
9:41am: SI.com's Jon Heyman has a few more pre-arbitration signings. 2008 Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum was inked for $650K, Angels pitcher Joe Saunders settled for $475K, Cubs reliever Carlos Marmol for $575K and Cubs infielder Ryan Theriot for $500K.
These are all guys without enough MLB service time to be eligible for salary arbitration.
John Perrotto's Every Given Sunday column is up over at Baseball Prospectus. This week, he takes a look at some of the position battles teams will face entering Spring Training. And, as always, there's some interesting items in his Rumors & Rumblings section. Let's take a look:
- Some of the more interesting position battles mentioned: 1B/DH/RF in Oakland (Daric Barton, Jack Cust, Jason Giambi, Aaron Cunningham, and Travis Buck all in the mix), Tampa's closer if Troy Percival gets hurt or falters (Dan Wheeler, J.P. Howell, Grant Balfour), and the White Sox rotation behind John Danks, Mark Buerhle, and Gavin Floyd (Clayton Richard, Aaron Poreda, Bartolo Colon, Jeff Marquez).
- Brian Roberts still wants a four-year deal before Spring Training starts up, or he'll cut off negotiations. Does Roberts make more sense as a cornerstone in Baltimore or as a trade chip?
- Perrotto feels Tom Glavine will inevitably re-sign with the Braves.
- The White Sox have minor interest in signing Ivan Rodriguez as a backup for A.J. Pierzynski. I'm sure Pudge would prefer a starting gig, but at this point, it's tough to be picky.
- We've heard a lot about the Orioles having interest in Rich Hill lately, but Perrotto reminds us that the Mariners are interested in the 28-year-old lefty as well.
12:45pm: MLB.com's Bill Ladson talked to a source who said nothing is imminent in these talks and they haven't really heated up.
10:48am: According to Dave Sheinin of the Washington Post, the Nationals and A's have revived trade talks for first baseman Nick Johnson. Sheinin notes that the Nats have previously shown interest in Daric Barton, though that might be a high price to pay for one year of the injury-prone Johnson. Another wrinkle is the A's addition of Jason Giambi, but there would be ways to make it work.
Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle has the latest on the A's.
- The Jason Giambi press conference is scheduled for today. Joe Dillon was designated for assignment to make room.
- Slusser believes Billy Beane will take a look at Bobby Abreu and/or Orlando Cabrera if their price tags slip.
- Daric Barton is drawing trade interest, with the Nationals a possibility.