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Athletics designate Daric Barton for assignment -- again

Former Cardinals farmhand Daric Barton has been designated for assignment by the Oakland Athletics.

It's the second time the A's have designated Barton this year. They originally cast him off in the spring but ended up keeping him in the minors after he passed through waivers. Barton earned his way back to the big league club but only hit .143 in 23 plate appearances.

Barton was a top prospect as a slugging catcher when the Cardinals traded him to Oakland as part of a package -- which included pitchers Dan Haren and Kiko Calero -- for lefty hurler Mark Mulder.

Barton never panned out as a catcher, playing all but one of his 476 major league games at first base -- the other appearance came at third base. He also never panned out as a slugger, hitting 10 home runs in his best season, 2010, when he also had his highest batting average in a full season, .273.

Maybe because he played in the Moneyball center of the universe, Barton's most noteworthy accomplishment is that he led the major leagues in walks that same season with 110. Oddly, he stopped trying to mash the ball and seemed to go to the plate looking for a free pass.

The Mets, desperate for offense, are rumored to be interested in Barton. New York recently ended up with another former Cardinals slugger who was released. Outfielder Rick Ankiel signed with them last week.