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Blanks Deal Brokered; Barton Bounced

May 15, 2014

They say where there is smoke there is fire, and alas again today that is true – especially in San Diego, I suppose. The rumors of a Kyle Blanks to Oakland deal today came to fruition as Billy Beane sent the Friars for Jake Goebbert along with the ever so famous PTBNL or cash considerations. To make room on both the 25 and 40-man rosters the A’s designated first baseman Daric Barton, potentially – though unlikely – ending his tenure with the club.

As discussed the other day, the A’s don’t get a heck of a lot in Blanks. Once considered to be a top prospect injuries have been blamed for his lack of MLB success though it could just as well be he wasn’t as good as everyone presumed. For the platoon-happy and multi-use happy A’s Blanks offers the ability to play both the outfield and first base. I talked about Blanks’ career numbers yesterday, so this season he has seen very limited action with the Padres going 2-for-10 in eleven trips to the plate, but has hit .265/.364/.651 with a .422 wOBA and 153 wRC+ in 99 plate appearances with the Triple-A El Paso Chihuahuas – including belting nine dingers. Blanks could be yet another example of the A’s taking someone off the scrap heap and turning garbage to gold a la, Brandon McCarthy, Jesse Chavez and Blanks’ platoon mate Brandon Moss so who knows what to expect?

The move is really little risk because as oft-discussed one can really not do much than what Barton has put up the past few seasons. This year was no different as Barton is DFA’d sitting with a .158/.234/.175 slash line good for a .197 wOBA and 19 wRC+ in his 64 2014 plate appearances. Barton’s lauded defense has again not been “laudful” and overall he has been worth -0.5 WAR this year, important in a tight division and disastrous for someone with such little playing time. Giving up Goebbert is of little consequence as he is an aging prospect (if he could even be considered that any longer) and came to the A’s from Houston in exchange for Travis Blackley when the A’s found themselves with too many pitchers and too few roster spots last April. Goebbert put up solid numbers in Sacramento (.257/.371/.514 with a .382 wOBA and 127 wRC+ including six home runs in 132 plate appearances) but not enough to squeeze his way onto the A’s 40-man roster and therefore not really into the picture for the A’s yet this year – if he ever were to be considered for such a role.

Could this be the end of the road for Barton? I doubt it. Last year he went through the DFA process twice, surviving each time and this year he seems destined to do the same. The market for defensive underperformers with zero power and little ability to hit for average isn’t what it used to be.

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