Daric Barton Rumors

Quick Hits: Braves, Red Sox, Barton

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.

Players To Avoid Arbitration

Tonight is the deadline for teams to tender contracts to arbitration eligible players. Many teams will agree to terms with players before the 11pm CT deadline and we'll keep track of them here. Be sure to check out MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker for complete details:

  • The Mariners have avoided arbitration with Josh Kinney, the team announced. It's a one-year deal.
  • The Pirates have agreed to terms with Charlie Morton, the team announced. The right-hander missed most of the season following Tommy John surgery. Morton will earn $2MM, MLBTR's Tim Dierkes has learned.
  • The Athletics avoided arbitration with Adam Rosales, the team announced. They also agreed to sign Daric Barton to a one-year, $1.1MM contract, avoiding arbitration, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports (on Twitter). The non-guaranteed deal includes $250K in incentives. Barton had been a non-tender candidate.
  • The Orioles announced that they have avoided arbitration with Taylor Teagarden, Steve Pearce, and Alexi Casilla. Casilla's deal is worth $1.7MM with a $3MM option for 2014 ($200K buyout) according to Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun (on Twitter).
  • The Astros announced that they have avoided arbitration with Phil Humber. It's a one-year deal worth $800K with a $3MM club option for 2014 ($500K buyout), reports the AP via MLB.com's Brian McTaggart (on Twitter). Houston claimed the right-hander off waivers earlier today.
  • The Yankees announced that they avoided arbitration with Jayson Nix, signing the infielder to a Major League deal for 2013.
  • The Royals announced that they avoided arbitration with second baseman Chris Getz, agreeing to a one-year, Major League contract. Getz will earn $1.05MM in 2013 on a deal that includes up to $150K in performance bonuses, Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star reports (on Twitter). Luke Hochevar is Kansas City's lone unsigned arbitration eligible player as MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker shows.

Mike Axisa contributed to this post.

Players To Avoid Arbitration

Tonight is the deadline for teams to tender contracts to arbitration eligible players. Many teams will agree to terms with players before the deadline and we'll keep track of them here:

  • The Orioles have agreed to terms with Dana Eveland on a one-year, $750K deal for 2012, MLBTR has learned.
  • The Giants have agreed to terms with Mike Fontenot on a one-year deal for 2012, avoiding arbitration, MLBTR has learned. It's a $1.05MM deal, according to the Associated Press.
  • The Red Sox announced that they re-signed Matt Albers. He'll earn $1.075MM, according to Alex Speier of WEEI.com.
  • The Padres agreed to terms with Chris Denorfia on a one-year deal, according to Dan Hayes of the North County Times (Twitter link). The deal is worth $1.165MM, according to Ronald Blum of the AP
    The Pirates agreed to terms with Jason Grilli on a one-year, $1.1MM deal for 2012, MLBTR has learned.
  • The Rockies agreed to terms with Kevin Slowey on a one-year deal, the team announced (on Twitter). Slowey obtains $2.75MM from the Rockies, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post (Twitter link). MLBTR had projected a $2.7MM salary.
  • The Blue Jays agreed to sign Jeff Mathis to one-year deal that guarantees the backstop $1.5MM in 2012, MLBTR has learned. The Blue Jays have since confirmed the move.
  • The Blue Jays have avoided arbitration with Jesse Litsch (one-year, $975K) and Dustin McGowan (one-year, $600K) according to a team press release.
  • The Dodgers have signed outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr. to a two-year deal.
  • The A's announced that they agreed to terms with Landon Powell, Daric Barton and Adam Rosales on one-year deals for 2012. The A's aren't non-tendering any arbitration eligible players this offseason. Joe Stiglich of the Bay Area News Group hears Barton will earn $1.1MM in 2012 (Twitter link). Rosales will earn $600K and Powell will earn $620K, according to Ronald Blum of the AP.
  • The Marlins signed Donnie Murphy to a contract for 2012, according to Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post (Twitter link). He'll earn $560K, according to Ronald Blum of the AP.
  • The Brewers announced that they signed George Kottaras to a one-year deal, avoiding arbitration. He'll earn $700K, according to Ronald Blum of the AP.
  • The Astros avoided arbitration with Humberto Quintero, signing him to a one-year deal worth $1MM, according to the team. MLBTR had projected a $1.2MM salary for Quintero.
  • The Angels agreed to terms with right-hander Jerome Williams on a one-year deal, according to Mike DiGiovanna of the LA Times (on Twitter). Williams agreed to sign for $820K with $120K in incentives, according to MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez (on Twitter).
  • Skip Schumaker is nearing a two-year deal with the Cardinals.

AL West Notes: Barton, Angels, Wilhelmsen

Happy birthday to Rangers manager Ron Washington, who turns 59 years old today.  Let's celebrate by taking a look at some items from Washington's division...

  • Daric Barton admits that he has been thinking about his multiyear contract negotiations with the Athletics, reports Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.  "It's always in the back of your mind," Barton said. "It's not something you like to think about, but realistically, it happens."  We heard about these negotiations last month, with MLBTR's Tim Dierkes noting that Barton's walk-heavy production could make him a bargain for the A's if they choose to go to arbitration with the first baseman.
  • The Angels are integrating young players into their lineup while still remaining competitive in the AL West, writes Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com.
  • Mike Trout is having a nice season at Double-A Arkansas, but ESPN.com's Jason A. Churchill predicts Trout will only reach the majors in 2011 if the Angels want to give him a few token at-bats in September.  Churchill speculates that Trout might skip Triple-A altogether and potentially make the Angels out of Spring Training next year, or at least be in the majors by May 2012 (or after next year's Super Two cutoff date).
  • Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports profiles Mariners right-hander Tom Wilhelmsen, who made his improbable Major League debut this season after spending five years away from the sport.

A's Could Extend Daric Barton

"It's a good bet" that A's pitcher Trevor Cahill "will be signed through at least his arbitration years soon," according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.  What's more, first baseman Daric Barton "is a strong possibility" to be signed through at least his arbitration years as well.  MLBTR's Luke Adams looked at the Cahill possibility last September, so let's focus on Barton.

Barton, 25, hit .273/.393/.405 in 686 plate appearances last year, leading the American League with 110 walks.  The A's also consider Barton's defense and durability to be positives, according to Slusser.  The first baseman did deal with a few injuries in 2009, and also spent a good portion of the season in the minors due to Jason Giambi's presence.  He'll be arbitration eligible for the first time after the 2011 season.


Barton is a very unique first baseman, and new agent Dan Lozano would have a hard time getting him properly compensated through the arbitration system.  Barton's value is tied to his OBP and defense; he only has 26 home runs and 136 RBI in 1,485 career plate appearances.  How unique is it for someone to play 150 games at first base and post an OBP of at least .390 with a SLG under .410, as Barton did last year?  According to the Baseball-Reference play index, the only other player to do it in the last 30 years was Mike Hargrove for the Indians in 1980.

If my theory that a player like Barton would be a bargain in arbitration is correct, the A's should only extend him if they're getting a big discount or control of free agent years.  From Lozano's point of view a great comparable would be Billy Butler, who is a also a little short on power but still signed for $30MM over four years ($19MM for his three arbitration years, $8MM for one free agent season, and a club option for a second).  The A's might argue that Barton better resembles a healthier Nick Johnson, though Johnson's three-year extension came at a much different point in his career.  Both Butler and Johnson, though, have at least flashed 20 home run power in their careers.

Quick Hits: Davis, Barton, Cole, Slowey

Links from around the majors, as Manny Ramirez takes on one of his former teams and the regular season draws one day closer...

AL Notes: Millwood, Soria, A-Rod, Barton

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.

Athletics Notes: Payroll, Barton, Stadium

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.

A’s To Address Power Shortage

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.

Red Sox Looking At Left-Handed First Base Options

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.

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