The Athletics are shopping Brandon Allen

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Apparently Billy Beane has realized that he has way too many first baseman on his 40-man roster. With Daric Barton, Chris Carter and possibly Kila Ka-aihue in the mix for roster spots during spring training, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reports that the Athletics are shopping Brandon Allen.

Allen, who turns 26 in February, was acquired from the Diamondbacks last July in the Brad Ziegler trade. He has regularly mashed minor league pitching, including a .991 OPS in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League last season, but owns an underwhelming .210/.297/.383 batting line over 367 plate appearances at the major league level.

Allen is quickly running out of chances to prove that his minor league numbers can translate to big league success, but he’d make sense as a low-risk flier for several clubs. It’s not clear who the Athletics are talking to, but the Rays (hat-tip to R.J. Anderson of Baseball Prospectus) have been linked to Allen in the past. The Pirates, Orioles, Brewers and Indians are among other potential landing spots.

Nationals back off of minor league stipend cut

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Yesterday it was reported that the Washington Nationals would cut the weekly stipend paid to their minor leaguers from $400 a week to $300 per week through the end of June.

For frame of reference, MLB had agreed to pay all minor leaguers $400 per week through May 31. Several teams have agreed to extend that, with the Royals and Twins agreeing to do it all the way through the end of August. The Oakland A’s decided to stop the payments in their entirety as of today. The Nationals were unique in cutting $100 off of the checks.

The A’s and the Nationals have taken a great amount of flak for what they’ve done. The Nats move was immediately countered by Nationals major league players announcing that they would cover what the organization would not.

The A’s are, apparently, still sticking to their plan. The Nats, however, have reversed course:

One can easily imagine a situation in which Nats ownership just decided, cold-heartedly, to lop that hundred bucks off of each minor league check and not worry about a moment longer. What’s harder to imagine is what seems to have actually happened: the Nats did it without realizing that anyone would take issue with it, were surprised by the blowback, and then reversed course. Like, what kind of a bubble where they living in that they did not think people would consider that a low-rent thing to do?

In any event, good move, Nats, even if I cannot even begin to comprehend your thought process.