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Non-Tender Barton? No Way

December 12, 2011

Today on MLBTradeRumors.com Tim Dierkes listed his list of non-tender candidates as today at 9pm PT teams must make the decision whether to non-tender any of their arbitration eligible players. As would be expected the list included Landon Powell and Adam Rosales both of whom I think Oakland should non-tender despite their relatively low projected arbitration salaries ($700K and $600K respectively). In the case of Rosales, Oakland has numerous players who can potentially fill that role, Eric Sogard even giving a shot to Adrian Cardenas, etc. In the case of Powell, clearly Josh Donaldson and Anthony Recker can be equally serviceable backup catchers. One name however stood out on Dierkes’ list: Daric Barton.

How on earth one could justify non-tendering Barton is beyond me and I wouldn’t do it. He is projected to receive $1.5M in arbitration which means he probably needs to be worth around 0.3 or so WAR to pay off. While last year he was atrocious, featuring a .212/.325/.267 slash line and an equally appalling .273 wOBA, and he was worth -0.3 WAR, he is a player who in his very recent past (2010) has been worth as much as 5.1 WAR. Barton has exceeded 0.3 WAR in every season he has had in the pros aside from what may been a very well entirely caused by injury down year in 2011. He is a near-certainty to break that threshold again this year and if on the odd chance he is not, it is a mere $1.5M investment on a player who could be worth far more. Last year I hoped that the A’s would not extend Daric Barton saying,

“Until the arbiters start to recognize Barton’s value he is the perfect Moneyball player, a completely undervalued commodity, a first baseman with no power, but whose glove work and walks and on base numbers make him valuable to us.”

While today that may not be the case and I am glad we didn’t extend him for other reasons, the fact that he is still a completely undervalued commodity exists and it is well worth the gamble. The A’s would be absolutely remiss (unless they know some medical reason we aren’t aware of) if they non-tendered Daric Barton today.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 12, 2011 12:49 pm

    If the A’s non-tender Barton that’d free up space, but it’d be a silly (read: idiotic) move on Beane an Co’s part. I just don’t see it happen. Am I in the minority to think that Barton is still an asset to this team? Assuming he’s healthy, I still think he’ll be just fine this year.

    • December 12, 2011 1:02 pm

      Yeah I don’t see it happening either, I was sort of surprised by the inclusion of Barton even on the non-tender candidates list. Personally, I hope he is the starting first baseman. While I don’t expect 5+ WAR years out of him, I think he can be a solid 2.5-3.5 type guy, I am hoping it was the injury that sapped him last year and not a more general losing his stuff at the plate/headcase sort of change.

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