Pirates Decline Option for Rod Barajas; Pick Up Option for Pedro Alvarez

The Pittsburgh Pirates today exercised the $700,000 option for third baseman Pedro Alvarez for the 2013 season, while declining catcher Rod Barajas’ $3.5 M option (no buyout) for next year.

Alvarez’s $700,000 option was expected, as it was a part of his original contract when drafted by Pittsburgh in the first round of 2008. Alvarez blasted a career-high 30 home runs during the 2012 season, surpassing his previous mark of 16 set his rookie season in 2010. The 25-year-old third baseman finished with a .244 average.

Barajas’ hit a career-low .206 average with the Pirates, with 11 home runs over 104 games. His 98 starts behind the plate were the most since 2009 with Toronto when he caught 110. Barajas’ threw out just 5% of base runners this season (4-of-80). But while his offense struggled for most of the season (he hit .302 in May), the pitching staff including A.J. Burnett, who was his battery mate for the season, along with James McDonald and several other young arms, spoke highly about Barajas’ game calling and leadership skills behind the plate.

Barajas’ $3.5 M option for the 2013 season was declined by Pittsburgh, but the veteran catcher could still return to the Pirates for next year at a lower price and as the club’s No. 2 behind the plate. Manager Clint Hurdle said during the final homestand at PNC Park in October that he had a candid conversation with Barajas about that role.

The club also released reliever Hisanori Takahashi, who was set to become a free agent at the end of the week.



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I won’t celebrate the obvious correct decision of not picking up Rod’s extension until he either signs with another team or until the Pirates sign a suitable catcher to take his place. The possibility of him returning as a backup is still too great a threat for me to really be happy.

Do you suppose that the increase in run support that AJ will receive from having (what we all hope will be) a competent bat behind the plate will offset his anger over losing his personal catcher?

Lee Young

Will he get angry?


Lee Young

Maybe he’ll get a tat of Rod?



That made me laugh.


I hope not, but he was outspoken in his praise for the way Barajas handled the pitching staff/called a game while Barajas was under fire for not hitting much and for not throwing out an acceptable level of opposing base swipers. So, either he won’t be all that happy at this news or if he was trying to be a good teammate by lying about/defending a player who was understandably coming under scrutiny, then maybe he won’t be unhappy.

Ian Rothermund

I think A.J.’s enough of a professional to not let releasing Barajas negatively affect him. I just think that while he must’ve been happy to have Rod catching for him again, he won’t take it personally or drag it into next year. Honestly, if Rod is such a great leader for the team and at the catching position, why not try to offer him some kind of coaching position? The obvious answer is, because he’d rather milk another year or two out of playing and making 1-2 million, whereas I’m sure he’d make considerably less coaching/mentoring.

Lee Young

Nice Avatar Kristy….I just hope nobody else here follows your lead, esp Tim. Posting HIS pic could REALLY destroy his credibility.


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