Barajas Willing To Take Less To Return To Pirates

The Pirates hold a $3.5MM option on Rod Barajas for 2013, but should they decline it, the catcher says that he would be willing to take less to stay in Pittsburgh, writes Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.  Barajas is making $4MM this season and the option for next year doesn't call for a buyout if it's not exercised.

" I would like to be back here," the 37-year-old said. "If that means we have to try to figure something out, then absolutely."

The Pirates have not approached Barajas about whether they will pick up his option or if they'll look to negotiate a new deal.  General Manager Neal Huntington did not rule out Barajas returning in 2013 but also cautioned that the club is "not ready to commit to anything" at the moment.

Pittsburgh could turn to a pair of internal options – Michael McKenry and 2009 first-round pick Tony Sanchez – to fill in at catcher next season should they choose to look elsewhere.  Barajas is hitting just .197/.269/.324 with nine homers in 324 plate appearances this year.


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23 Comments on "Barajas Willing To Take Less To Return To Pirates"


2 years 11 months ago

“Willing to take less?” Barajas will likely be a nonroster invitee to someone’s spring training. If he does get a contract it’ll be for near the MLB minimum.

nebelski
2 years 11 months ago

At this point, he has more value to the Pirates than any other team because of A.J. Burnett, James McDonald, and the bulk of the rest of their pitching staff. You’re right in that he’d have a hard time getting a Major League deal much north of league minimum next year. This means that a deal worth $1M-$1.5M would make a lot of sense on both sides (It’s the best deal Barajas will get, and the Pirates’ pitching is risked suffering if they let him walk). There isn’t even an obvious back-up replacement in the system right now, even IF his rapport with the pitching staff could be easily replaced.

2 years 11 months ago

Pirates pitching hasn’t been good in two months. Burnett is their best starter and he is having his 10th best season by ERA+. It made sense to give Barajas credit for the pitching in May. Not now.

nebelski
2 years 11 months ago

Baseball is an aggregate game. If you look at the pitching staff’s aggregate numbers, they have performed better than expected.

2 years 11 months ago

Barajas should pay the Pirates to play next year, considering how awful he’s been this year. Awful is a compliment in this situation. He can’t hit and he can’t throw a runner out to save his life.

johnsilver
2 years 11 months ago

Might as well make a phone call to Jason Varitek.. Even ‘Tek is capable of throwing out more than **7%** of the runners attempting to steal, as in 75SB vs 6CS.. That is atrocious.. Tek also even hit better than Barajas.. Yep.. Old Barajas needs to put his boots on and walk away someplace…

levendis
2 years 11 months ago

he’d be lucky to get invited to camp the way he has hit this year

nebelski
2 years 11 months ago

Sanchez is NOT ready. I’d bring Barajas back after declining his option to be McKenry’s back-up. A catcher’s value is first and foremost his rapport with the pitching staff. Everything I’ve heard says that this is pretty solid. That alone is worth at least $1M. His defense is mixed, of course. It’s hard to deny our catchers’ inabilities to throw out runners this year. Most of that is probably the fault of the pitchers, but you have to hold the catchers at least partially responsible. However, his defense in other areas seems above average. He’s a quality back-up at this point with veteran experience, an approachable personality, and great rapport with the pitchers. I don’t let that go for Sanchez right now.

Let_My_Cameron_Go
2 years 11 months ago

I haven’t seen all that much of him, but is there any reason The Fort can’t play at least 50% of the schedule next season?

nebelski
2 years 11 months ago

No. In fact, McKenry could become one of the best catchers in the NL next year. He’ll hit 20+ homers with a .250-.265 average. He’s also a good baserunner with very surprising speed for his position. I don’t think the Pirates would ever bring Barajas back to lead the depth chart.

$1529282
2 years 11 months ago

“One of the best catchers in the NL?”

I guess it depends on your definition of “one of…” if you mean Top 10, sure. But Posey, Molina, McCann, Montero, Lucroy, Grandal, AJ Ellis… “one of the best” is a massive stretch.

McKenry’s entire season basically came in a 20-game span. All of his stats were accumulated from June 25-August 4. Outside of that time he hasn’t hit much at all.

And for as many people as there are ragging on Barajas’ arm (rightfully so), McKenry is 8-for-60 (13%) in throwing out baserunners.

PursueYourDream
2 years 11 months ago

Hate to break the news to you Barajas, but I doubt we want you back!! He is a pop up or K waiting to happen!! Send him to Japan with Jeff Clement

sdsuphilip
2 years 11 months ago

Not sure how the Pirates could replace Barajas 593 OPS and 7% CS rate.

formerdraftpick
2 years 11 months ago

Sorry Rod, that tactic didn’t work for Maholm either. Unfortunately, I think Sanchez is going to be forced into your place.

formerdraftpick
2 years 11 months ago

I think the big shock is that McKenry is doing so much better compared to how he did in the minors. I remember following mlbtraderumors last year and pretty much the Pirates were willing to take anyone at catcher and all of the teams were holding them hostage. Thank you Red Sox. Both Rod and McKenry call a great game though. Let’s see what happens. Also, if they don’t resign Rod, there are a lot of great backup choices in the 2013 FA market.

nebelski
2 years 11 months ago

Well, McKenry hit .263 with an .811 OPS in the minors. This year, he’s hit .252 with an .819 OPS. In a way, it seems pretty consistent; though, he’s hitting more homeruns with fewer 2Bs in the majors.

Exposfan
2 years 11 months ago

Convert Allie to a catcher, you will get baserunners out

PursueYourDream
2 years 11 months ago

He would throw it to McCutchen more often than not. They moved him to 3B because he couldnt throw strikes. haha

hawkny1
2 years 11 months ago

McKenry has been a pleasant surprise and deserves the opportunity to catch regularly while Sanchez learns his craft at the MLB level in 2013. He is not big, as catchers go, but he call as good game, and hits with occasional power. Barajas is simply getting too old.

hobblin_manny
2 years 11 months ago

There has to be someone else who can handle the pitching staff well and hit .240. Please move along from this guy.

2 years 11 months ago

I’d give him more to leave

Scott Reppert
2 years 11 months ago

Just checked. Charlie Sands is still alive…

2 years 11 months ago

Throwing out baserunners is not solely on the catcher. I’m not defending Barajas’ terrible numbers here, but they are not to be taken at face value. A pitcher has to be quicker than 2+ seconds to the plate and not many of the guys on the Pirates are.