Baseball, like any other job, actually places value on performing to the level at which you are being paid. In the cases of a few Oakland Athletics, they were not playing up to that level. Like other jobs where you might get fired or demoted, these players were all sent down to the AAA affiliate, Sacramento. Here’s a look at how Daric Barton, Kevin Kouzmanoff and Andy LaRoche are faring.
Let’s start with the positive: Kevin Kouzmanoff was viewed as a heart-of-the-order kind of guy with a gold glove. He never found his groove with the A’s and after a disappointing start to this season which had him batting in the low .200’s, Kouz was sent down to Sacramento. The good news is that he has actually been playing pretty well. In 21 games at third base, Kouz is batting .287 with 4 home runs, 23 RBIs, 47 total bases and 13 strike outs. Another encouraging sign is that he has only committed 2 errors. Could Kouz be a likely call-up candidate?
Andy LaRoche opened the season as the A’s ‘do-it-all’ guy, similar to how Marco Scutaro and others have done in the past. Eventually, LaRoche took over full-time duties for Kouzmanoff at third base. But, lack of production and consistency sent LaRoche to Sacramento. In 20 games, LaRoche is batting .268 with 1 homer and 11 RBIs as well as 8 walks and 11 strike outs. Certainly not putting up all-star worthy numbers.
Finally there’s Daric Barton, the guy full of potential who has shown flashes of a great glove and patience at the plate who cannot hit a home run for the life of him. In only 8 games for the RiverCats, Barton’s struggles continue. He is batting .185, still not having hit a home run, 1 RBI, 6 walks and 7 strike outs. Might another demotion be in line for Barton? He’s got to figure out a way to get out of his funk soon. Maybe the A’s should trade him to Colorado – it seems to be working wonders for Mark Ellis…