With each passing day I find myself asking more and more, "How is Daric Barton still playing first base for the A’s?" I cannot believe that any other organization would stick with a player this long that produces so little. How bad of a first basemen is Daric you ask? Let’s go to the numbers.
Stats as of 06/15/11 Rank out of 31 qualified 1st basemen
Avg- .215 30th
SLG- . 268 31st
OB%- .328 24th
OBS- .596 31st
HR- 0 31st
Errors-8 1st(most of any 1B)
I simply do not understand the thinking behind trotting out Daric game after game at 1st base regardless is he is hitting #2 or #6 in the lineup. Barton could be an everyday player for a team with a loaded line up who needed to fill a spot at first base. But he plays for a team that ranks 28th in runs and last in home runs. For a team to have a productive offense that included Barton they would need to make up for it at a position up the middle (C, 2b, SS, CF). Sadly this is not the case as those players are almost as power challenged as Daric. Ray Fosse used to say that Daric was going to win a gold glove one day but he currently leads all first basemen in errors. He literally does not help the team in any offense or defensive category.
As for replacements the A’s have plenty of options to fill the glaring hole at. Connor Jackson is hitting a lofty .250 (By A’s standards) and has 2 less RBI then Barton in 80 less at bats. Adam Rosales would be an improvement on defense and can hit the occasional home run or double. Chris Carter has shown that he can hit for power and is continuing to do so in Sacramento. However he has been forced to learn the outfield and stay in AAA because he is "blocked" by Barton at first base. Heck Willingham has even played a grand total of 3 games at first base but at this point I would be happy to give him a shot and put Sweeney in LF.
The point of this rant in not to hate on Daric Barton. Everyone who watches the A’s can see his frustration and knows he is trying to turn it around. But at some point the A’s front office and or manager need to wake up and realize that he is the least productive offensive and defensive first basemen in all of baseball and it’s really not even close. Even last year Daric was average at best at the position. It is time for a change.