The Oakland A's activated the walk-a-licious Daric Barton from the disabled list today and designated Brandon Allen for assignment. Allen, an erstwhile slugger, was acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks at least year's trade deadline as part of the return for Brad Ziegler.
Now 26, the left-handed Allen has hit .286/.405/.555 at Triple-A, but just hasn't had the same results in the majors, averaging .205/.291/.375 with 11 home runs in 109 games and striking out an untenable 133 times in 331 at-bats. That's about twice the AL average from last season.
Despite this, Allen might be a steal for the club that claims him. No, he can't hit same-side pitching even a little bit (.134 with one home run in 92 PAs), but his .229/.312/.434 with 10 home runs in 249 at-bats against right-handers hints that a platoon DH may be waiting to break out—though, even against right-handers, Allen strikes out so much that expecting him to have any kind of batting average is a stretch.
Still, let's look at Allen's career with the A's, for whom he hit .196/.248/.340 with just three home runs in 165 PAs. The Oakland Coliseum is a tough park, and Allen hit only .244/.315/.366 there. Yet, on the road, he was even worse. He hit .141/.165/.310, albeit with all three of those aforementioned home runs.
No one is that bad in neutral parks. There's just no reason for it.
The Coliseum clearly neutralized Allen at home, but as for the road, that's just bad luck, a transient case of nerves or both.
The likelihood is that Allen will get over it as soon as he lands somewhere else and probably would have done the same had he remained with the A's. A good rule of thumb: When there is no reason for a phenomenon to persist, it almost certainly will not.
A note that may be irrelevant, but fun to think about: Allen hit one of those three home runs at Fenway Park, while the other two came at Yankee Stadium.
Now, if you're asking me, I'd rather take my chances on the 26-year-old kid as my left-handed DH than the struggling 40-year-old. But that's just me, ol' err-on-the-upside Steve. Brian Cashman probably still prefers Raul Ibanez since he has a track record of having once been young himself.