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A’s DFA Daric Barton and Travis Blackley, Claim Otero

March 29, 2013

Well we knew someone had to go but Jesse Chavez is still safe! Why? The A’s claim of Josh Stinson this morning required the A’s make a corresponding move. Needless to say they did that but another waiver claim was made, Dan Otero right-handed pitcher from the Yankees, and so the two corresponding moves: DFA’ing Daric Barton and Travis Blackley. I am surprised.

I thought Barton’s days were numbered. He had underperformed and underperformed and frustrated just about everyone and his .206/.438/.265 spring line in 48 plate appearances wasn’t about to win him any more admirers. Classic Barton, the high OBP with absolutely nothing else going for him offensively (his stout defense is very impressive). Nate Freiman spelled the end for Barton and his high cost made it almost assured this day would come, but when a guy has been given so many opportunities it still comes as a surprise when the inevitable finally occurs. Barton in his 484 game Athletic career, hit .249/.360/.371 with just 27 home runs in 1,901 plate appearances. He had an impressive 14.3% BB% over the course of that career to go with a 16.6% K%. His one great year was 2009 where in 159 games he hit .273/.393/.405 and largely due to defense had a great 4.8 WAR along with a career high 10 home runs. Last season he slumped to .204/.338/.292 in just 136 plate appearances, managing a .255/.411/.425 slash line with Sacramento in 336 trips to the plate.  Barton had nowhere to go with Freiman and Brandon Moss, I imagine the A’s should be able to trade him for something in the next few days.

I am more surprised by the DFA of Blackley. The Aussie, whom I wrote a rather lengthy bullet point on the other day where I said,

“Blackley is looking less and less likely to make the roster following a miserable spring. Jane Lee of MLB.com quoted Blackley as saying, ”I feel better than I have ever in my life. … I can’t wrap my head around why these runs are coming in.” Blackley in this one at least allowed three earned runs and four hits in two innings, while walking one and striking out two. On the spring Blackley has thrown 12 2/3 innings, with 20 earned runs on 27 hits, with six walks and 12 strikeouts for an ugly 14.21 ERA and awful 2.61 WHIP. Blackley is out of options but one has to wonder whether he may clear waivers with such terrible spring numbers. It should not be forgotten that last year he was an invaluable member of the A’s (and a guy I wanted to see stick with a swingman role, a role I think is underappreciated and absolutely necessary to have) posting a 3.86 ERA nad 3.98 FIP in 102 2/3 of 6.1 K/9, 3.1 BB/9 and 0.9 HR/9 baseball. John Hickey on Inside The A’s had an interesting piece regarding Blackley though it was written prior to his awful outing. Hickey at least was singing a very different tune come his outing tweeting, “LHP Travis Blackley blew 2-run lead in 9th. If he does the same in 10th he can forget making opening day roster”

Well less likely indeed. Blackley’s spring numbers will end right where they are quoted above. I am surprised given his value last season that he was DFA’d but like Barton he was out of options and seemed set to not make the team. He didn’t pass through waivers when the Giants DFA’d him last year and given his performance for the balance of 2012, I doubt he clears waivers this year so it seems assured he will be playing elsewhere this year. I liked him, thought he fit the swingman role perfectly, but alas he is a victim of a roster crunch, hopefully Oakland can get something for him.

The first move in which the A’s nabbed Stinson was discussed earlier today, but the other pitcher the A’s acquired today was Otero. Otero was a 27th round selection by the San Francisco Giants in 2007 and has 12 1/3 innings of MLB experience to his name all with San Francisco last season posting a 5.84 ERA and 2.77 FIP backed by 5.8 K/9, 1.5 BB/9 and 0.0 HR/9 to go with a .422 BABIP and 52.2% strand rate. Otero was claimed off of waivers from the Yankees, who claimed him off waivers from the Giants just three days ago. In eight games of spring ball (all with San Francisco) he threw seven innings allowing one walk and two K’s with a staggering 13 hits two of them home runs for a 9.00 ERA. He is 28 and looks to be organizational filler though he was sharp with Fresno last year getting into 48 games, throwing 62 innings with a 2.90 ERA and 3.12 FIP based on 6.5 K/9, 1.2 BB/9 and 0.6 HR/9.

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