A’s Designate Brandon Allen for Assignment – Should the Cubs Take a Look?

Could the Chicago Cubs once again dig into the freebie bin to pick up a high-upside talent?

The Oakland Athletics have designated first baseman/outfielder Brandon Allen for assignment to open up a spot for regular first baseman, Daric Barton. Allen, who just turned 26 and bats left-handed, is a former top prospect and Minor League destroyer (his OPS has been near 1.000 since he reached AAA three years ago), who hasn’t been able to find success in a handful of big league opportunities (.205/.291/.375 line over 374 big league plate appearances since 2009).

The designation means that the A’s will have 10 days to trade, release, or waive Allen. Obviously the Cubs would be unlikely to work out a trade for a project, but if Allen is placed on waivers, would the Cubs consider making a claim?

Allen seems like the kind of high upside, younger player that this front office likes to take a chance on. They’ve already claimed Adrian Cardenas and Luis Valbuena – guys in their mid-20s with a very nice Minor League pedigree, who have yet to put it together in the big leagues. That describes Allen perfectly.

But, of course, there are space limitations and other practical concerns.

First, and foremost, while Allen can play in left field, he is primarily a first baseman. There, the Cubs have Bryan LaHair manning the position for the near-term, and Anthony Rizzo waiting in the long-term. In left field, Alfonso Soriano is playing reasonably well this year, and remains under contract through 2014 at $18 million per year. The Cubs could use a big-time bat like Allen’s off the bench (if he reached his potential, that is), but given his limited defensive ability, it’s hard to see the Cubs being able to carry him.

Second, claiming Allen would require the Cubs to bounce yet another player from the 40-man roster, and the Cubs would also have to find a 25-man roster spot for him. The Cubs’ bench isn’t exactly impressive, but I’m not sure who would merit being sent out in favor of Allen, unless the Cubs were going to give Allen starts in left field.

A final practical concern? Even if the Cubs want Allen, they aren’t going to be the only team doing this kind of calculation. If Allen is traded, it’s unlikely the Cubs are going to be one of the highest bidders. If there are no trade bidders, and Allen is placed on waivers, every AL team (and the Astros) will have a chance to claim Allen before the Cubs. That isn’t insignificant, as those AL teams have the luxury of the DH position, where a small market club could view Allen as a cheap, no-risk option there. Indeed, it’s hard to imagine a 26-year-old with Allen’s talent going unclaimed.

On the balance, I don’t expect the Cubs to land Allen, but these are the kinds of things that I’m sure this front office is thinking about every day. Opportunities only come up when they come up – and it’s not always when it’s most convenient for your team.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

90 responses to “A’s Designate Brandon Allen for Assignment – Should the Cubs Take a Look?”

  1. Luke

    I suppose the Cubs could offer a DeWitt for Allen swap.  I doubt that deal would ever happen, though.

    1. Bret Epic

      In a perfect world, but yes, that would be great.

  2. cubsklm

    Yes, dump DeWitt and sign this guy.

    The Cubs have no power. Put him in RF, move DeJesus to LF, and bring up Jackson for CF.
    Byrd is a waste of time.

  3. Kyle

    “and bats left-handed”

    Sold. We need that on our bench.

  4. Tyler

    The Astros could pick him up because it is not like they have a first baseman right now and they are also moving to the AL next year so he does make sense for them.

  5. Jay Anderson Jr

    Of the subject. The Marlins suspended Ozzie Guillen for 5 games. This is America. That man’s has a right to say what he wants, when he wants. I don’t care if he said Bin Laden was a great man, that’s his right. I don’t agree with what he said, but he should not be suspended.

    1. Leo L

      well its a free country. Then shouldnt his employer have to right to suspend him? Just curious dd he say these statements in his uniform? i dont know and was jsut wondering.

      1. Spencer

        No, it was in an interview with Time magazine.

    2. TWC

      “[A man] has a right to say what he wants, when he wants.”

      No.  No you don’t.

      1. Jay Anderson Jr

        As long it you are not threatening another person or intentionally destroying a reputation with false statements, you have a right to say what you want. Suspending somebody because he “likes” somebody your fan base doesn’t is criminal.

        1. MaxM1908

          Jay, how is this criminal? Where is the government action? A private employer suspended their private employee. Their relationship is defined by contract. I can guarantee there is a section in his contract which covers this scenario, whether it be a morals clause or some other section that concerns the public reputation of the club. And, because it’s Miami, there’s probably even a specific provision relating to Cuba. If his speech breaches the contract, there are consequences to his actions. No government is involved here. It has NOTHING to do with the First Amendment. It has EVERYTHING to do with the contractual duties laid out in his contract with the Marlins.

          1. Jay Anderson Jr

            Not literally criminal, I just think its wrong. Anything that prohibit someone belief is wrong. Let say with sports, I should not be fined for say a ref blew a call. Its not right.

            1. MaxM1908

              Sorry, I misread your previous statement. I understand where you’re coming from. I just think you have to recognize how even though we may enjoy many freedoms in the United States, we contract away that freedom for economic gain. Organizations that make a ton of money have interests at stake, and if you want to be a part of it and make money too, you may have to contract away some of your freedom to enjoy the economic benefits.

            2. Wilbur

              I also think I understand your position, and while your position is a reasonable reaction on an emotional level, Ozzie represents the Marlins (in uniform and out) in a community that really, really doesn’t like Fidel, Raul and others in the country they were forced to flee from.

              As outspoken as Ozzie is I was surprised he acted that stupidly, because I see him as a bright guy. Not one I want to hang around a lot with, but a good baseball man.

            3. mak

              If you lived in Miami and were a Cuban, you’d understand. Let’s say you own a bakery that sits in the middle of an Orthodox Jewish neighborhood. Your manager, in an interview with the local paper, says he loves and respects Hitler. You wouldn’t suspend/fire him? This analogy is a bit extreme, but amazingly, not that different than the situation at hand.

              1. DocPWimsey

                Hmmm, if I were an Orthodox Jew, then I’d be insulted to be equivalent to Batista’s cronies in this example! He was every bit as bad as Castro, after all.

            4. Joker

              Jay – he is not being punished for what he believes, he is being punished for what he *did*. I don’t think anyone really is arguing that he can’t believe what he said, it’s just stupid and insensitive that he said it. Believe what you want, just be courteous and politically savy enough to know how/when/if to express your beliefs – especially when you are a high profile public figure. In short – if you want the job, you have to be prepared to accept the responsibilities that come with it.

      2. Norm

        Yes, yes he does. But he can still face ramifications.

    3. David

      Yeah, for the most part, Ozzie can say whatever he wants, but the Marlins don’t have to pay him to alienate a huge chunk of their fanbase. Freedom of speech applies to the government, not to employers.

    4. Drew

      “This is America.That man’s has a right to say what he wants, when he wants.”

      WRONG– Go back and read the 1st amendment.

      The misunderstanding of the 1st amendment drives me insane.

      1. Matt3

        government doesn’t give us rights… we have them naturally… any man who attempts to take away our rights or force a way of life on us are facists who aren’t worth the air they breathe

        government is not my creator

        1. MaxM1908

          Matt, any “right” you claim in the United States is derived from the U.S. Constitution, a state constitution, a statute, or the common law. Try claiming a “natural” right in court and see how far you get. While I understand you may have distaste for the government, it is the government which adjudicates your rights.

          1. Matt3

            why do attorneys and judges have titles of nobility?

            1. Matt3

              we shouldn’t have to claim anything in a court that has no jurisdiction over us

            2. MaxM1908

              Sorry Matt, you’re going to have to explain that one a little further. I haven’t the slightest clue what you’re talking about.

              1. Matt3

                they sure as hell aren’t acting as agents of the United States

                1. JB88

                  That’s actually 100% incorrect, at least with respect to judges. Judges are paid by either the state or the Federal government so they are 100% agents of the US.

                  The argument for attorneys is slightly more tenuous, but attorneys in every state, upon being admitted to the bar, have to swear allegiance to the Constitution of the US and affirm that they will uphold the laws of the US.

                  If attorneys and judges aren’t state actors (or at a minimum agents of the state), I don’t know who is.

            3. DocPWimsey

              They do not have the titles of nobility. They have the titles of gentry, which includes (but is not limited to) nobility, i.e., landowners via inheritance. (It’s based on the French word for nobility, but we use the German word for that.) Remember, the founding fathers were all gentry, and they assumed that the “natural” (as opposed to “titled”) “aristocracy” would always be in charge. So, they kept the titles from the English system.

              Then the capitalists came along and bye-bye gentry! (Although there were still vestiges of them left when the Cubs last won the WS; I assume that is why this is relevant?)

            4. hardtop

              They do?  I have never noticed this….

              like DUKE Shapiro?

              Sweet! I’m going to law school, I want to be a kick-ass Duke!

        2. Drew

          I’m not opening the door to that argument. Almost every real employer will have some sort of clause in the contract having to do with a breach of confidentiality, whether that pertains to clients or the business itself. Let’s not make it out to be Nazi Germany.

          1. Matt3

            lets not make it out to be Nazi Germany: you mean like when the president can assasinate U.S. citizens without a trial?

      2. mak

        Agreed. Can’t stand when people cry “First Amendment!” after they are repremanded by a private employer for speaking like a moron.

    5. MaxM1908

      I think it’s absolutely hilarious. The Marlins knew what they were getting themselves into and they did it to put butts in the seat. This does it. Brilliant. To Jay, the protector of free speech, you’re right he has the RIGHT to say whatever he wants. That’s why he was not arrested and put away as a political prisoner. The right to free speech only extends to government action. Private actors can fire someone, suspend them, whatever. My guess, being Miami, there’s even a section in his contract concerning public statements with regard to Cuba. For all you know, he could have been in violation of his contract with the Marlins.

      1. Jay Anderson Jr

        Well what exactly did he say. He didn’t say Castro was great. He was ask who was the strongest person. He said Castro, because they have been trying to kill him and hes still doing his thing. I replspect that too. I thinks Castro is an idiot, but I respect the fact anybody still believes what they believe even when other people don’t like it. That not that bad of a statement.

    6. DowntownLBrown

      Freedom of speech, not freedom of conequences

      1. King Jeff

        This is exactly correct. My sister was being harassed by some guys on the L a few years ago. She got pissed and called one of them a “fag”. She was arrested and charged with a hate crime, even though the guys she called a “fag” was harassing her. I’m sure that’s not all there is to the story, but the saying applies. You can say whatever you want, but you better be prepared to deal with the consequences of what you say.

        1. Kyle

          I’m going to go out on a very, very secure limb and say that either never happened or happened in a way that involved a lot more than what was described there.

    7. JB88

      Your interpretation of the First Amendment is wholly incorrect. The Government has no right to punish Guillen for his comments. However, his EMPLOYER is not the government and has every right to punish him for things that he says.

      In fact, if the Marlins wanted to, this is very likely a “for cause” terminable offense. You have a constitutional right to say many things, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t face consequences for those comments. And, as an aside, you don’t even have a right to say everything you want if those comments incite violence or riot or place others in danger of imminent harm. In those situations, the government can still punish you for what you say. The right to freedom of speech is not absolute and those who think it is are sorely mistaken.

      1. Joy

        Well said.

      2. Jay Anderson Jr

        I never mentioned the constitution. God gave me a mouth and I use as I want. I guess teams can start suspended coaches and players for saying Obama is a great president or for saying Romney will be a great president.

        1. JB88

          I’m not sure how you can write, with a straight face, that: “This is America. That man’s has a right to say what he wants, when he wants. I don’t care if he said Bin Laden was a great man, that’s his right. I don’t agree with what he said, but he should not be suspended.” without truly believing you said anything about the Constitution. The Bill of Rights, amended to the Constitution, is the only thing on which you base your claim that “That man’s (sic) has a right to say what he wants, when he wants.”

          And, as for your hypothetical, if there is something in a person’s contract that prohibits political speech, then, yes, he could be suspended. Parties can agree to define their rights any way they want as long as that definition is not per se voidable or illegal. Otherwise, if they contracted in such a way (usually by way of a morals clause), then Ozzie or any other employee of a private company can be punished for stating such things.

          Dems da shakes, guy.

        2. mak

          That would be an interesting business decision if a team did that, but they are free to. Controversely, its not an interesting business decision to suspend a guy who insults a large portion of the consumers.

        3. SirCub

          A man also has the right to ride motorcycles with women half his age that are employed at the school he works for. But it’ll still get you suspended.

    8. Roughriider

      Jay. The man is under contract to do what is best for his team/company. He has done harm to the business by making statemants that are detrimental to the opperation of that business. Yes, he has the right to say what he wants, but the company has the right to remove him from his position. Frankly, he is lucky that he was only suspended and he may yet be fired. How a man can live as much as he has in the Miami area and not realize that his words were not only hurtfull to so many people but inflamitory is beyond my comprehension. I’m not of Cuban descent nor have I been in Miami except to catch my next flight but I have better sense than to say the things that he did.

  6. Spencer

    It’s slightly more complicated than that.

  7. No Name

    It is a free country, you just can’t f**k with the money. When a rather large majority of your fan base is Cuban, you can’t go around loving the guy who they think is satan.

  8. Aaron

    Would be nice to have, but like you mentioned, not really a “fit” for him… Although, I wonder if Oakland would take on Soriano if we ate up a solid chunk of his contract.

  9. Norm

    I do love how baseball gets all bent out of shape with Ozzie’s comments but ignore DUI’s and domestic abusers.

    1. TWC

      THANK YOU.

  10. ferrets_bueller

    Unrelated thought about the Reds:
    While the wisdom of their other moves this year can be argued on both sides, I see absolutely no way of painting the Brandon Phillips extension in a positive light. An aging, rapidly declining 2B who is already 31 getting a 6 year, 73 million dollar deal, from a small market team? Not smart. Not smart at all.

    1. David

      While I don’t see the Phillips contract working out for the Reds, to say that he’s rapidly declining is jumping ahead a bit, isn’t it? He arguably had his best year last year. He’s certainly at an age where you can expect decline, but he hasn’t shown that yet.

      He won’t turn 31 for a couple of months yet, so he may well still have a few more peak season left. After that, though…

  11. Jay Anderson Jr

    I’m not talking about constitutions or governments. I could care less about the first amendment. I just don’t think a guy should be suspended for his beliefs. I’m black. I got ask to leave a black church because I criticized Obama during a conversation. Its not right.

    1. Jay Anderson Jr

      He should be judged on winning and losing,not cause he likes Castro.

    2. Norm

      They could ask you to leave for no reason at all.

    3. Drew

      “I’m not talking about constitutions or governments”

      “This is America. That man’s has a right to say what he wants, when he wants”


      1. Jay Anderson Jr

        MaxM1908 made the most sense and I agree about contracts.

        By America, I meant we don’t kill people for disagreeing. I didn’t mean govenrment. I meant us. The constitution doesn’t give me freedom of speach, God does.

        1. TWC

          God is for freedom of speech?  I though the old fella was pretty unhappy with people speaking ill of him, casting them off to an eternal fiery inferno and whatnot.

          1. Jay Anderson Jr

            Right, and hes the only one protected like that, as he should be. I think ESPN firing Rush Limbaugh was similar. He said McNabb was only considered good because he was black. I agreed with him. He should not have been fired. Ozzie should not be suspended. I guess I’m just vocal person. I say what I feel. I wish everybody else would too.

            1. Boogens

              Hey Jay,

              Thanks for hanging in there and patiently explaining your perspective to us. I have a much better understanding of where you’re coming from now.

            2. Wilbur

              I get your point totally and people should allow others to say what is on their mind whether they agree or not. However, we are all human and when expatriate Cubans hear pro-Fidel discussions as a group they react emotionally not rationally.

              The Marlins sell tickets to fill a stadium and sell TV rights. Ozzie is both part of the on field team that is the attraction and part of the marketing of that attraction. When he alienates a sizable customer group he has to pay.

              In other business endeavors if a salesman loses a series of accounts he’s likely out the door.

            3. hardtop

              removed: i shouldnt be fueling a fire i wish to extinguish. sorry


  12. Bobo Justis

    Americans do not understand what free speech means. You do have a constitutional right to most speech, but that only means that the government cannot jail you or otherwise penalize you for what you say. It’s different for your employer, or your neighbor, or some uneducated dimwit on a message board. If you say something foolish, people have a right to respond. More importantly, your employer has an almost absolute right to discipline you or fire you at any time. Most people who work for companies are employed “at will.” Those words have a specific legal meaning that roughly means that you can be let go at any time for no reason. (Yes, there is wrongful termination but ask your HR person about “at will employment”.) In addition, someone like Guillen has a contract that no doubt has in it some additional stipulations. It’s easier to fire someone than you think. He doesn’t even make that much money compared to many other managers. In purely economic terms, it probably makes more sense to fire him and pay him than to keep him and lose revenue from fans who rightly despise Fidel.

    1. Kyle

      Assuming this is about Ozzie Guillen, I’m going to argue that it’s you who doesn’t understand what “free speech” means.

      The concept of “Free speech” is much bigger than merely the First Amendment, Constitutional protection in the United States system of government. It’s a social value that defines Western society and goes back hundreds of years before the United States was conceived of.

      While they may not be violating the Constitutional right to free speech by punishing Guillen, they are violating the ideal, the value. I believe that as a society, we are at our best when we allow the free exchange of ideas not just by disallowing our government from restricting it, but by not using social pressure to try to silence those with whom we disagree. Let the marketplace of ideas sort out who is right, but let everyone throw out their two cents.

      1. DocPWimsey

        Put another way: “free speech” includes the 1st Amendment, but the 1st Amendment does not cover everything we mean by “free speech.”

        Whether Guillen can be suspended depends largely on the terms of his contract and their legality. There almost certainly is a clause in there about conduct unbecoming to a representative of the organization. It might even specify bigotry, particular crimes, etc. It will not specify political speech: several court cases have ruled against that in relation to support for unions, which was (and is) a political issue. However, all of these things are political in the end.

        My guess is that they’ll reduce the suspension after an apology on the grounds that the suspension will be of dubious legality on one hand, and the Cubans (many of whom are exiled gentry, after all) will through throw a fit if they don’t on the other.

      2. Drew

        Kyle- I agree with the overall point of your post, but I think theres a difference between valid, quality ideas in the “marketplace of ideas” and the complete shit that comes out of Guillen’s mouth.

        There’s nothing quality about someone saying they love Fidel Castro. Nothing is harmed when a vast Cuban-American population that was hurt by what this bag of shit decided to say using social pressure to silence him.

        I see your point and agree with it, I just dont think this assbag deserves to be defended with it.

        1. Kyle

          If you are cordoning off ideas into “good, acceptable” ideas and “bad, unacceptable ideas,” then no, you don’t agree with my point at all.

          1. Drew

            That’s not at all what I’m doing. I’m saying not everything that comes out of everyones mouth is an idea, and saying “I love Fidel Castro” is an attention-grabbing statement, not an idea.

            Unless I misunderstood and everything coming out of anyone’s mouth should go into a giant, uncensored think tank. If that’s the case you’re right, I don’t agree at all I guess.

            This shit is exausting. Time to work. Go Cubs

      3. David

        That’s a sweet sentiment, really. But as someone who owns a business, if someone who works for me says something that pisses off my clients, I’m going to have to take a good look at what was said. I’m not going to let someone put my business in jeopardy because he feels as though he has the right to act like an ass.

        The marketplace can decide whether or not what my company stands for is worthwhile or not, but I still get to decide what my company stands for. The Marlins fans can decide with their wallets whether or not they support how the stadium was paid for, what they think the image of the team is, etc., but the ownership still gets to decide that their manager doesn’t get to embarrass the organization by being an idiot.

  13. Leo L

    Just because someone has teh right to say soemthing does not mean he should. obvoisuy he could say even more hrutful things. he could say he believes that child pornography should be legal. fine. it is his right. but the marlins have the right to suspend him also. and not only do they have the right, they probably have it laid out in his contract an idea waht the consquences coud be. whether they should suspend him or not could be debateable. But if he went completely off his rocker and started saying that child pronography shoudl be legal, should the amrlins jsut sit there and lose thier fan base because of him? no, they should be able to protect themselves. so no, just becasu you have freedom of speech does not mean there cannot be any consequences.

  14. ty

    Reinsdorf and Ken Williams allowed Ozzie to deviate from the norm as a baseball mgr. and dugout employee. A laundry list of offenses that would never have been accepted on the northside. Kenny is a very dignified G.M. and yet Ozzie was a mockery for too long.

  15. Kyle

    Minor league update: Wells is getting smacked around again.

  16. mark

    Jr. thinks an employee has the right to willfully destroy his employer’s business and the employer has no recourse. Who knew employers have no rights? What a country!

    1. Jay Anderson Jr

      No. But don’t hire an employee, knowing exactly how he is, then fire or suspend him for being exactly what you knew he was. It hypocritical among other things.

  17. Bobo Justis

    There is no such thing as free speech except for what is protected by the Constitution, and even that is subject to interpretation. You may have been brainwashed in school to believe that you can say anything you want, but there are no guarantees that you won’t have severe repercussions if you say things that make people mad. It has nothing to do with whether you have some kind of vague right, and it has nothing to do with whether you are objectively right or wrong. We live in a political economy. Entities like the Marlins have to conform to community standards, or they are punished economically. Whether they can survive something like this is a question of judgment. They have to decide whether they want to ride the storm out, or make some kind of concession. It’s safe to say that the one thing they won’t consider is Guillen’s right to say what he wants. If the economic punishment is severe enough they’ll cut him loose without a thought for his nonexistent “right to free speech.” What kind of right is it when you just use it to hurt yourself? The Marlins have to consider whether this storm will blow over. It’s risk management, and at this point it’s much more risky to keep him than to cut him loose.

    1. Kyle

      You still don’t understand.

      Free speech is not just a right. It is also a social value. And that social value does not come from the first amendment.

  18. mark

    “Free speech is not just a right. It is also a social value.”

    But in this case I confidently predict that there will be no groundswell of social support for Ozzie. Most of society sees no social value in his expressed views, nor does society feel threatened by the Marlins’ attempt to preserve their business and social standing in Miami.

    1. Kyle

      My quibble is more with the fans that are pressuring the Marlins than the Marlins themselves.

      Valuing free speech means being able to simply say “you’re wrong” instead of using social pressure to punish the people who dare have opinions that you don’t like.

      1. MaxM1908

        In defense of those people, though, many of them suffered personally at the hands of Castro or had relatives who did. For those who have not personally experienced the Castro regime, they’ve had to live in exile from their homeland. It’s understandable that people would be up in arms about the manager of their favorite team applauding him in any way. This is all completely blown out of proportion, but still, their reaction is understandable.

  19. ferrets_bueller

    Ozzie Guillen should be able to say whatever the hell he wants. On top of that, what he said has been taken ridiculously out of context.

    1. Richard Nose

      If his dumb brain functioned before his babbling mouth, he’d be alright.

  20. ty

    Bueller Bueller–Any of us who have spent time around Ozzie–close up and personal–know being taken out of context is rediculously wrong.

  21. Mrp

    I’m a bit disappointed in these responses. I see 80+ posts here and thought, wow this Branden Allen guy must be a great find or something! What a let down.

    1. die hard

      Allen going to Phils is guess…Cubs dont need anyone unless they can play above avg SS

  22. MichiganGoat

    I’m so confused right now- mediocre player to Ozzie to constitutional debate. This has to be one of the most interesting thread we’ve ever had on here. Still scratching my head.