Last night the Dodgers non-tendered Russell Martin and then quickly answered questions about their post-Martin catching situation by re-signing Rod Barajas to a one-year deal.
Barajas was claimed off waivers from the Mets following Martin’s hip injury and played well down the stretch, hitting .297 with five homers and a .939 OPS in 25 games. However, he hit just .225 with a .677 OPS in 74 games for the Mets and is a 35-year-old career .239 hitter whose 20-homer power is canceled out by a ghastly .284 on-base percentage.
General manager Ned Colletti indicated that Barajas “would take the lion’s share” of starts behind the plate, with minor-league veteran A.J. Ellis serving as his backup, although the Dodgers haven’t officially ruled out re-signing Martin. Colletti and Dodgers fans were no doubt impressed by Barajas’ performance down the stretch, but he’s likely to disappoint over a full season.
If it were up to him, Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson would finish the remainder of his career in Toronto. In fact, he’d be “ticked pink” if the club decided to sign him to a long-term deal. Whether the Blue Jays share that sentiment is still unclear, as Donaldson said Saturday that the team has yet to engage his agent in extension talks.
“I’ve said that I wanted to be here,” he told MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm. “That’s pretty much all I can say. I’m not the one who makes the decisions, nor would I try to put them in the position to do that. Like I said, I believe the situation will become more fluid when the time is right.”
That doesn’t necessarily mean an extension is out of the question. The Blue Jays reached an unprecedented one-year, $23 million agreement with the three-time All-Star in arbitration, and have been reticent to field trade offers despite continued interest from the Cardinals this winter.
Donaldson, 32, is poised to enter his eighth season in the majors and fourth with the Blue Jays. In 2017, he batted .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs and a .944 OPS in 496 plate appearances, ranking sixth among all major league third baseman with 5.0 fWAR. He’s scheduled to enter free agency following the 2018 season.