The Toronto Blue Jays added some first base depth Tuesday, signing Daric Barton to a minor league deal that includes an invitation to big league spring training.
Barton, an on-base specialist with a career .356 OBP, played in 551 games for the Oakland Athletics from 2007-14 before hitting free agency this off-season.
In parts of eight big league seasons, Barton has a .247/.356/.365 batting line and 30 home runs. He led the American League with 110 walks in 2010, but has since been relied upon as a part-time player. Though the 29-year-old bats from the left side he has hit left-handed pitching at a .278/.381/.427 clip while faring worse against right-handers (.235/.346/.342).
Justin Smoak appears to have the inside track for Toronto’s first base job, with waiver claim Chris Colabello also in the mix to provide depth and insurance at triple-A Buffalo. Like Colabello, Barton provides Toronto with depth in case of injury or poor performance.
Though Edwin Encarnacion was the Blue Jays’ primary first baseman in 2014, he figures to get plenty of DH at bats following the trade of Adam Lind. Dan Johnson, who provided the Blue Jays with insurance at first base in 2014, signed a minor league deal with the Houston Astros Monday.
The St. Louis Cardinals made Barton the 28th overall pick of the 2003 draft, then sent him to Oakland with Dan Haren and Kiko Calero for Mark Mulder in December of 2004.