Oakland A's MLN: Three Players Released

Minor league spring training has officially ended for the Oakland A's. During the final weekend of camp, the A's let go three longtime members of the organization. In addition, the A's have reportedly acquired a minor league lefty they once drafted but didn't sign.

A's Release Three

Three players were released from the Oakland A's organization during the final weekend of minor league camp. The A's parted ways with 2008 draft picks Trey Barham, Rashun Dixon and Myrio Richard, according to A's Director of Player Development Keith Lieppman. All three players are now free agents.

Barham was the A's 25th-round pick in 2008 out of the Virgina Military Institute. The left-hander moved steadily through the A's organization early in his minor league career, reaching Triple-A at the start of the 2012 season. Unfortunately, he injured his elbow early that season and had Tommy John surgery. Barham rehabbed the injury for a year and then returned to the mound with the Arizona Rookie League A's late last summer. He had a 3.72 ERA in 9.2 innings with the AZL A's before earning a promotion to High-A Stockton. With the Ports, Barham made nine appearance and had a 3.86 ERA in 11.2 innings. He struck-out 16.

Barham will enter the free agent market with an impressive resume. In 272 career minor league innings, he has a 3.18 ERA and a 231:96 K:BB. Barham has allowed just 16 homeruns.

Dixon was the A's 10th-round pick in 2008 out of a Mississippi high school. A two-sport star in high school, Dixon signed with the A's instead of attending Mississippi State on a football scholarship. He has flashed plenty of potential during his minor league career, but injuries and inconsistency have prevented him from taking the next step.

Last season, an oblique injury kept Dixon back at extended spring training at the start of the year. He hit four homers in 11 games with Low-A Beloit before moving up to High-A Stockton. In 86 games with the Ports, Dixon hit .207 with 116 strike-outs, but he walked 48 times and hit 12 homeruns. The 16 total homeruns in 2013 were a career-high for Dixon. He is still just 23.

Richard, the A's ninth-round pick in 2008, also has had injuries slow his development. The centerfielder spent the past three seasons with the Stockton Ports, but he never played in more than 111 games in any one season due to injuries. In 2013, Richard hit .256 with 11 homers and 13 stolen bases in 465 at-bats. His best season came in 2011 when he hit .292/.363/.419 with eight homers and 27 stolen bases in 107 games with the Ports. Stockton made it to the Cal League championship series that year.

All three players were in their final season under their original minor league contracts and could have elected free agency at the end of the 2014 season.

Reports: A's Acquire Former Draft Pick

According to several reports, the A's have acquired left-hander Eric Berger from the Houston Astros for a player-to-be-named later. Berger spent most of last season with Triple-A Oklahoma City in the Astros' chain. Before joining the Astros early in the 2013 season, Berger spent his entire career with the Cleveland Indians.

Berger is a familiar name to A's fans who follow the team's draft. In 2007, he was one of two University of Arizona pitchers selected by the A's in the top-10 rounds (Daniel Schlereth was the other). Neither signed with the team and both were taken in higher rounds in 2008. Berger was the A's ninth-round pick in 2007, but he signed with the Indians in 2008 after going in the eighth round.

A starter for much of his career with Cleveland, Berger reached Triple-A by 2010. He transitioned to a bullpen role in 2011 and has mostly been a reliever since then. Last season, Berger appeared in 46 games between Double-A Akron and Triple-A Oklahoma City. All but three of those appearances were out of the bullpen. He had a 3.12 ERA and a 55:32 K:BB in 70.2 innings.

Berger has a starter's pitch mix, throwing a fastball, slider, change-up and curveball. His fastball generally sits in the low-90s and he gets good sinking action on the pitch which allows him to induce a lot of groundballs.

If Berger joins Triple-A Sacramento, he will be pitching close to home. Berger starred at Woodcreek High School in Roseville and he was the 2004 Sacramento Bee Player of the Year.

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