The Pittsburgh Pirates made some moves today and they all made sense. The Bucs decided to decline catcher Rod Barajas’ 2013 contract option, which creates a hole behind the plate heading into the hot stove season.
The Pirates declined the $3.5 million option with no buyout for the 37-year old Barajas. The Buccos brass signed him in free agency before the 2012 season. The favorite catcher of stud starter A.J. Burnett, had his worst season of his career with a .283 on-base percentage, while throwing out just six percent of thieves on the basepaths.
The man who comes to the plate to the tune of low rider did hit eleven bombs this year and flashed some serious warning track power throughout the year. We can’t help but wonder if the Bucs sign him at a lower number should the catching free agents not blow them away.
The Pirates picked up the $700,000 option on Pedro Alvarez, who had a breakout season at the plate for the Bucs. Alvarez still struck out at a higher rate than only Mark Reynolds and Adam Dunn over the past three seasons, but look at the improvement in some key categories for El Toro.
The Big Bull was more agressive at the plate in 2012. The Vanderbilt product also greatly reduced his infield fly ball percentage–usually associated with big time power hitters– to just three percent. Finally, Alvarez just crushed some baseballs increasing the distance of his flyballs by over 35 feet.
Alvarez is for real, now matter how you look at his numbers and at $700K, he’s also a huge bargain.
The club also released left-handed reliever Hisanori Takahashi, who will become a free agent at the end of this week.