How long are the A's going to continue to have a problem at first base. Daric Barton was seen as the answer back in 2008. Remember? He was supposed to be an upgrade for the A's over Dan Johnson who had a 'bad' 2007 season with a .236 average, 18 homers, and 62 RBI. However, since Johnson left, we have yet to see any form of production from the position. Why are we still pretending that Daric Barton is the answer? Why are we pretending that Barton will somehow, some way, figure this out?
Barton was so bad in 2008, that the A's felt compelled to sign a 38 year old Jason Giambi in 2009 to replace him. It wasn't until Giambi got off to a slow start that the A's decided to revert form and turn back to Barton. Heck, even Giambi's 2009 #'s are still better than anything we've seen since. Barton had a strong 2012 season, but should we hold on to that forever in hopes that it will come back? He is not the typical first basemen. He does not have a lot of power and must rely on getting on base and hitting the baseball to succeed.
He's not doing either.
Barton's 14 walks are 4th on the Athletics right now. In 2010, he led the American League with 110. Right now, he's barely on pace for half of that, let alone his average has dropped into the Mendoza territory. His defense, while good, is not enough imo to keep him around. Barton has to go. Right now, the A's need to start looking at other options.
But what other options are there?
Kila Ka'aihue is outplaying Barton so far this season. However, he's not a solution at the position imo. His .267 average, despite decent on this A's ballclub, is mediocre and he isn't hitting for power at all this season either. The .395 slugging percentage just won't get the job done. Both don't seem to be answers for the A's.
In my opinion, the A's have two options:
Carter is hitting .293 in Sacramento with 8 homers and 34 RBI to start the season. While I'm not impressed by minor league numbers (see Josh Donaldson this year), the time is now or never to give Carter his shot. He has now been at AAA for 3 years. I don't understand why the A's are so willing to hand 3rd base to a player like Donaldson, yet are unwilling to do the same with Carter? Well? Can he really be much worse than what the A's already have out there?
Could Adam Lind be an option for the A's?
The second option, to claim Adam Lind, would be a much more costly option, but would give the A's a first basemen with power. Lind was placed on irrevocable waivers by the Jays. I think this means that he can still go to AAA if he clears, but it clears a roster spot on the 40-man. If the A's were to grab Lind, they would have to pay the Jays $20,000 and be on the hook for the remainder of his contract. He is owed a pro-rated portion of 5 million this year, 5 million next year, then has a series of options that if the A's don't like, could buy out. IMO, if you don't bring up Carter, this needs to be done. Even though Lind doesn't hit for a high average, it's not different than what we currently have. However, I still think if you acquire enough guys with pop in the lineup, one swing of the bat could change your fortune in a game.
Think of Brandon Inge. Inge can't do anything with the bat consistently, but his power is the reason the A's won a few games this year. Lind can act the same way. If we start acquiring power threats such as Lind, Inge, Reddick, Cespedes, etc...and can pitch well, we can score enough runs to start winning some ballgames.
But enough fooling around. Let's stop pretending that Daric Barton is a good 1B or the Ka'aihue is so much better and should be playing. A's management needs to make this team better and specifically needs to solve the conundrum known as first base.