PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) — The Pittsburgh Pirates filled a big hole on their roster Thursday, signing catcher Rod Barajas to a one-year deal with a club option for 2013.
Barajas, 36, played in 88 games for the Los Angeles Dodgers last season, hitting .230 with 16 home runs and 47 RBIs. After passing on club options for former catchers Ryan Doumit and Chris Snyder, general manager Neal Huntington and the Pirates organization needed to find a starting catcher for 2012.
“There’s no question that it was a limited market free agent-wise,” Huntington said on a conference call. “We determined our best course of action was to be aggressive with the guy we wanted. In Rod’s case, he liked the fit, we liked the fit and we were able to get it done.”
Barajas said he thinks he can be a good fit for the Pirates and added that it was the Pirates persistence that convinced him to sign in Pittsburgh.
“They were aggressive,” Barajas said on a conference call. “They definitely showed that they wanted me to be a part of their team.”
Huntington said the Pirates No. 2 catcher will still fill a pivotal role, as Barajas likely won’t be able to shoulder too heavy of a workload. Barajas has played in over 100 games just once in the past six seasons.
Either Michael McKenry or Jason Jaramillo will serve as Barajas’s backup. Both will battle in spring training for the job, though McKenry seems to be the favorite as he was second only to Doumit with 58 appearances at catcher in 2011.
“We’re going to have to make sure we monitor (Barajas’) workload and put him in position to be successful,” Huntington said. “That’s why the No. 2 catcher is going to be important as well. The majority of the rest of the free-agent market is in the same level of games caught.”