#Athletics designated Sam Fuld for assignment to activate Craig Gentry & have kept Daric Barton & Josh Reddick on active roster.— John Dickinson (@JDJohnDickinson) April 12, 2014
The Athletics activated Craig Gentry from the 15-day disabled list this afternoon. To make room for him on the 25-man roster, the A's designated Sam Fuld for assignment in anticipation of requesting waivers to assign him to the Sacramento River Cats.
And yes, the #Athletics are aware they are likely to lose Fuld on waivers given his defensive ability and several teams with injuries.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) April 12, 2014
Because this transaction took place on Saturday, the A's cannot request waivers until Monday because the league office does not process waiver transactions on weekends. The Athletics have until April 22 to trade Fuld or complete the outright waivers process. Teams will have two days to make a claim on Fuld, and if claimed the Athletics will have a day to work out a trade. Otherwise, the claiming team will acquire Fuld and must place him on its active roster. If no claim is made, Fuld will likely be sent outright to Sacramento.
Over the last two weeks, Fuld, Josh Reddick, and Daric Barton's lack of offense have all led them to be considered candidates to be demoted once Gentry returned. 2012 right field Gold Glove winner Reddick (.103/.161/.103 in 31 plate appearances) had a strong spring after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right wrist after the 2013 postseason. It was thought that his offensive struggles in 2013 were related to that wrist.
Reddick's failures at the plate are particularly worrisome because he struck out 13 times in his 31 plate appearances. Nevertheless, Reddick is only 27 and his strong spring brings hope that he returns to his 2012 form, when he hit 32 home runs. Reddick has an option year remaining, and he probably would not otherwise have been a candidate for minor league assignment.
First baseman Daric Barton (.100/.250/.100 in 24 PAs) has had limited playing time with the Athletics since a strong 2010 campaign where he put up 4.6 bWAR. While considered a strong defensive first baseman, some mental lapses on defense and base running led some to question his value.
Barton was considered the last man selected out of spring training, the Athletics electing to option catcher Stephen Vogt to the Sacramento River Cats instead. Barton would have needed to clear outright assignment waivers, though his $1,250,000 salary might have dissuaded other teams from taking a flyer on him. Additionally, DFA-ing Barton would make switch-hitting infielder Alberto Callaspo, with limited first base experience, the right-handed part of the first base platoon opposite left-handed hitter Brandon Moss.
Outfielder Sam Fuld (.200/.273/.433 in 33 PAs) joined the Athletics organization after the Tampa Bay Rays non-tendered him following the 2013 season. His contract allows him to elect free agency if he is not on the 25-man roster on June 1. Fuld made a strong case for staying on the roster in the first week of the season, hitting a triple in each of his first two games, though one was the result of a poor decision to dive for a liner to short center by Seattle Mariners center fielder Abraham Almonte:
In his last four games, however, Fuld is a mere 2-for-17 (.118) with two walks and four strikeouts. One went for his seventh career home run.
Fuld has also made several outstanding defensive plays. He has thrown out two runners going from first to third, one each from right field and center field, and made this spectacular diving grab that demonstrated why he earned the moniker "Superman" in Tampa:
While these plays seem to help Fuld pass the eye test, the decision to DFA Fuld likely comes down to his limited upside given his age (32) and career statistics (.233/.312/.334). The A's therefore are going with four outfielders plus Brandon Moss and two first basemen plus Alberto Callaspo.
This article was corrected on April 17 to reflect that the 2012 Basic Agreement between Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association implements outright waivers as of the 2012 season.