Blue Jays agree to Minor League deal with Barton

Veteran could compete with Smoak for Toronto's starting job at first base

Blue Jays agree to Minor League deal with Barton

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays signed first baseman Daric Barton to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training on Tuesday afternoon.

Barton has spent most of the past three seasons in Oakland's organization at Triple-A Sacramento. The 29-year-old has appeared in parts of eight years at the big league level, but he hasn't been a regular starter since 2010.

This marks the second depth addition at first base by Toronto over the past couple of weeks. The Blue Jays claimed Chris Colabello off waivers from the Twins during the Winter Meetings, and while it's possible both players will compete with Justin Smoak for the starting job at first, they'll likely begin the year at Triple-A Buffalo.

Barton's best season came in 2010, when he hit .273 with a .393 on-base percentage in 159 games. His production dropped the following year, and he has since been unable to find regular playing time in the Major Leagues.

Smoak is expected to be Toronto's regular first baseman in 2015, while Edwin Encarnacion is likely to receive most of his at-bats at designated hitter. That plan could still change, and the fact that Smoak signed a one-year deal worth $1 million means his contract won't prohibit the Blue Jays from cutting ties if he struggles early.

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.