Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle has reported that Daric Barton is likely to replace Josh Reddick on the roster for the Oakland Athletics.
It’s still unclear if the right fielder, who left the team’s loss to the Baltimore Orioles in the sixth inning, will be placed on the DL due to his injured right wrist.
However, it sounds as though Barton, who was lifted from the Triple-A Sacramento River Cats game in the after one at-bat, will be headed to Detroit to join up with the team in case he’s needed. In that game for Sacramento, Barton was playing third base as he has been doing frequently as of late.
The return of Barton is not as remarkable as it might initially seem. As I speculated last week and as Slusser noted today, the first baseman was likely to be brought up when rosters expand on September 1, so this move just accelerates that time frame. Slusser also mentioned that a “top talent evaluator” had just told her that Barton was “Sacramento’s best player.”
The question that follows this: is how is that even possible? Barton has been designated for assignment and outrighted to the minors twice this season, so clearly there aren’t many teams around the league that share that evaluation.
Just what exactly happened to the River Cats, the team that historically has been so good and has usually been such a reliable source of new talent?
GM Billy Beane and the team’s front office have clearly opted for the known quantity in this situation. Barton is highly valued within the organization for his defensive capabilities. He’s also enjoyed a solid season with the bat as he hit .297 with seven home runs and 29 doubles for the River Cats. He’s drawn a Pacific Coast League-leading 87 walks, so he’s still as discerning as ever.
There aren’t many obvious options on the roster of the team’s top minor league affiliate, and some would require creative shifting of positions. The options include players like Michael Choice, Jemile Weeks, Hiroyuki Nakajima or possibly even Michael Taylor.
It’s not the first time the Athletics have experienced this kind of problem this year. It’s reminiscent of the situation when team repeatedly called up Adam Rosales perhaps because there were no other infield options. The Athletics could use a bat, but it’s not likely to be found in the minors at this point.