A's DFA Blackley, Barton for two waiver pitchers

A's DFA Blackley, Barton for two waiver pitchers
March 29, 2013, 3:30 pm
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Travis Blackley went 6-4 with a 3.86 ERA in 24 games for the A's last year. (USA TODAY IMAGES)

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Oakland Athletics trimmed their big league roster on Friday by designating pitcher Travis Blackly and first baseman Daric Barton for assignment. Reliever Jordan Norberto was optioned to Triple-A Sacramento.

The moves gave the A's room on their 40-man roster for right-handed pitchers Danny Otero, who was optioned to Triple-A and Josh Stinson, who was optioned to Double-A. Otero was claimed off waivers by the Yankees, Stinson came from the Brewers.

Otero had a 5.84 ERA with the Giants last season in 12 appearances.

"We've seen him a lot in Triple-A, really good sinker, he throws a ton of strikes," A's assistant general manager David Forst said. "He's a really good bullpen piece for us potentially."

Forst noted that adding pitching depth is key for the A's and he believes the team still doesn't have enough arms. Stinson is a guy who the A's like as a starting pitcher. He was 11-9 with a 3.16 ERA in 29 games -- 24 starts -- in Double-A in 2012. He also started one game for the Milwaukee Brewers and posted a 0.96 ERA in six games for them.

"We need starters," Forst said. "A young kid like that with a good arm gives us a good opportunity to take a guy and put him in the system."

Blackley, Barton and Norberto are all pretty well known names. Barton has been with the team since 2004, when he was acquired along with Kiko Calero and Dan Haren from the Cardinals in exchange for Mark Mulder. Barton, 27, signed a non-guaranteed contract this offseason. He declined to comment as he left the ballpark.

"It was tough," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "But that was a move we needed to make."

Blackley pitched in pivotal games for the A's in their pennant run. On October 2, he kept the A's playoff hopes alive by throwing six innings of one-run ball to beat the Rangers. He had had a 4.10 ERA in 27 games -- 14 starts for the A's last season, but he struggled mightily this spring.

"You don't want to over inflate the spring training results, but you have to look at what's best for this 25-man roster," Forst said. "There's no better example than last season where every single game counts. Our job is to give Bob [Melvin] the best 25 on opening day, and we felt making this decision was the way to go."

The Australian native had a 14.21 ERA this spring.

"I've just been around the game long enough to know that you have to be making a lot more money to get away with the spring I had," Blackley said. "I'm not mad, I'm more disappointed."

Blackley and Barton have to pass through waivers. If no team claims them, the A's can reassign them to the minor leagues. Barton could choose to opt out and become a free agent.

Norberto has options and will likely see himself back in Oakland this year. The left-handed reliever was a key part of the A's bullpen last season. He had a 2.77 ERA in 2012 and threw more than one inning in 19 of his 39 appearances.

"It doesn't mean he won't be a significant contributor as he was last year," Melvin said. "That was a tough decision to make."

After arriving at AT&T Park on Friday, Norberto promptly packed up his bags and left prior to the team's release.

The A's roster cuts mean the A's have 32 active players in camp. They will have to trim down to 25 before Monday.