Once upon a time Daric Barton was a stud prospect who was swapped (with Dan Haren) for an in-his-prime Mark Mulder and not so long ago he led the league in walks as a 24-year-old, drawing 110 free passes on the way to hitting .273 with a .393 on-base percentage in 2010.
And today he passed through waivers unclaimed by 29 teams after the A’s designated him for assignment earlier this week, so he’ll head to Triple-A.
Barton has been injured and ineffective since that strong 2010 season, hitting just .209 with one homer and a .604 OPS in 113 games for the A’s. He also never had much power to begin with, which makes things tough for a first baseman, but Barton is still just 27 years old and it’s a little surprising some team didn’t take a flier on him given all the random replacement-level talent that’s constantly being plucked off the waiver wire.
Nothing went right for the Blue Jays this weekend. The club was swept in a four-game series against the Athletics, including a 9-2 loss on Sunday. Not wanting to burn out his bullpen in a lopsided game — and perhaps thinking about the general entertainment value involved — Blue Jays manager John Gibbons decided to send designated hitter Kendrys Morales out to pitch the ninth inning. And in typical baseball fashion, he saw better results than some of the dudes who do this all the time.
Morales, who actually pitched in Cuba nearly 20 years ago, worked around a walk for a scoreless inning. He induced three fly outs and topped out at 87.4 mph on his fastball, per Brooks Baseball. He received a standing ovation on the way back to the dugout. Morales hasn’t been hearing that sort of thing for his contributions with the bat recently.
Morales, 34, is batting just .163/.248/.279 with three home runs through 32 games this season. There’s been some understandable clamoring for top prospect Vladmir Guerrero, Jr. to cut into his at-bats. For his part, Morales has been doing everything he can to break out of his slumber at the plate, including ditching the glasses he started wearing during spring training. Hey, whatever works. Morales also had two of Toronto’s four hits on Sunday.
On the heels of Morales’ first MLB appearance on the mound, it feels rather appropriate that the Blue Jays will get their first look at Angels sensation Shohei Ohtani — at least as a hitter — beginning on Tuesday.