Pirates Sign Rod Barajas For $4 M

The Pittsburgh Pirates have made their first addition in the free agent market, signing catcher Rod Barajas to a one year deal with a club option for the 2013 season.  No financial terms are known yet, although Barajas made $3.25 M in 2011.

In my preview of the free agent catchers, I listed Barajas as an option that would make sense for the Pirates.  He turns 36 next year, although he’s been durable, with almost 2500 innings caught over the last three years.  That amount is more than any catcher on the free agent market.  His OPS over the last three years has been .699, so he won’t provide the offense that the Pirates saw out of Ryan Doumit.  However, he has a 26.5% caught stealing rate and a passed ball every 206.97 innings, both upgrades over Doumit.

The top option on the market was Ramon Hernandez, who likely would have required the Pirates to give up their second round pick as compensation.  There is no compensation required for Barajas, which might have influenced the decision for the Pirates.  Barajas doesn’t have the offense that Hernandez has, but his defense is close.  Offensively he doesn’t hit for average, but does hit for power, with 16+ home runs in each of the last three seasons.

UPDATE 11:55 AM: Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports reports that Barajas will receive $4 M in 2012, and a $3.5 M option in 2013.  I wouldn’t be surprised if part of the 2012 salary includes a buyout amount for the option.

UPDATE 12:40 PM: There is no buyout on the option, according to Jon Heyman of SI.  The 40-man roster/payroll page is updated.  The projected payroll is now at $33.4 M.

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Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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  • Anonymous

    I would have preferred Ramon Hernandez, but I am OK with Barajas on the 1 year deal.
    Low average, HR power, and good defense…sounds like a more durable Chris Snyder to me.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QVRXWFEYWUJAZH5HHLLYAC6KPE Michael

    Ugh, a .238 lifetime hitter.  I would rather just play McKenry, Fryer and Jaramillo.

    • Anonymous

      Do not agree we would be better off with above three. Barajas gives better offense and veteran presence. Hope Sanchez is ready in year or two. Heard rumor that Huntington was told to cut payroll by 7 million. Hope not true.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QVRXWFEYWUJAZH5HHLLYAC6KPE Michael

        I would have rather used the money on someone else.   Ramon Hernandez would have been a better option at catcher.

  • http://twitter.com/KraigK KraigK


  • http://twitter.com/hemmist hemmist

    I don’t really mind the Barajas signing. I just hope he can stay healthy! Doumit could not ! Barajas and McHenry sounds like a good battery to me! No All Stars but serviceable! 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_K3QKOJI7XRK4ELNKY72GICD5HM JustinG

    I’ll take Barajas at 4 million to Doumit’s 7 or whatever it was.  On to Barmes!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OGCKUSO5MA5VUCJHW2YSJ2K3TM Bob

    Not bad, if we can get Barmes and Lee/Pena we should be an okay.  

  • Jimmy Coverdale

    Huntington has proved that he’s learned nothing from what happened with Overbay. I would have taken Barajas as the starting catcher – but not for $4m. He should have offered Doumit arb first and waited to see what happened there – now he won’t take the risk and won’t get a draft pick

  • Anonymous

    Solid addition in a position that has anything but solid for the Pirates in ages. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QVRXWFEYWUJAZH5HHLLYAC6KPE Michael

    I would have rather used the money on someone else.   Ramon Hernandez would have been a better option at catcher.

  • Anonymous

    Would rather have had Hernandez, but Barajas was a good get for the Bucs, veterans are important and this one will be a far better asset than Doumit was and no where near the risk Snyder would have been with his back problem, not to mention they saved a lot of money, they would have had over 20 mil in two catchers if they would have continued with Doumit and Snyder as they had last year.
    Catching problem solved, would like to see them lock up Barmes if they can’t resign Cedano.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jack-Mcelligott/1666219291 Jack Mcelligott

    Solid sign. We need a veteran catcher to work with the pitchers and our young catchers. Though I dont blame Doumit pitchers plummeting this past season I think there was a noticeable dropoff with Doumit behind the plate as to defense and perhaps more importantly with pitch selection. We got a solid if not spectacular foursome of catchers now excluding Sanchez. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Vince-Riedy/100002800992567 Vince Riedy

    Solid signing. This allows the catching prospects to develop and the major league pitchers pitch to a real catcher. The option year is a bargain for a quality backup catcher if any of the prospects are ready in 2013.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1388816199 Bob Martin

    Welcome to the Lyle Overbay signing of 2012..Neal is Dumpster Diving mighty early this year. He was dumb enough to give Lyle 5M, atleast he only gave another washed up player 4m this time. Maybe next year it will be 3 and by 2016 we won’t need to give away money like this. Hopefully Nutting will be gone too but my dreams never come true so he will still sign off on crap signings like these.

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