McCarthy Activated; Barton Optioned
Part one of my prophecy has come to fruition! The A’s activated pitcher Brandon McCarthy today off of the disabled list and he will make the start today against Luke Hochevar and the Kansas City Royals. McCarthy had been sent to the DL with shoulder issues and they thankfully seem remedied. McCarthy has been the best pitcher for the now newly-minted cellar dwellers of the American League West. In 58 innings, he has accumulated 0.9 WAR, based on 6.2 K/9, 2.5 BB/9 and 0.8 HR/9 while sporting a 2.95 ERA and 3.70 FIP.
To make room on the roster, the A’s, as I had predicted, optioned struggling first baseman Daric Barton to Triple-A Sacramento. Barton has been steadily losing playing time to Kila Ka’aihue (who granted hasn’t been that much better but is out of options) and at the time of his demotion was worth 0.4 WAR good for fourth on the A’s offense but most of that was tied to his defensive prowess and not his batting which is considered to be negative – and rightfully so. Barton this year has a slash line of .198/.325/.283 with a .286 wOBA and an 80 wRC+ across 126 plate appearances. Given that I have a lot of skepticism regarding UZR, the fact that all of Barton’s value was tied up in his sketchy defensive metrics means his 0.4 WAR I feel is potentially overstated.
I am really pleased with this decision, not because I was to penalize Barton but because I think he has the potential to be a somewhat valuable player and think he needs to sort his crap out in Sacramento. I think he may be a bit of a headcase and continued struggles at the Major League level don’t seem to be the recipe for remedying them. Let’s see how long Kila Ka’aihue lasts in this role. While I don’t want to see Chris Carter ever have a glove in his hand while on a Major League Baseball field, I still think he should be considered an option too, as we have yet to have a prolonged stretch of seeing him at the MLB level and one has to continue to question what is gained from him hitting off Triple-A pitching for a fourth straight season.