Rod Barajas’ one-year, $4 million contract with the Pirates includes a $3.5 million team option for 2013 that is all but certain to be declined considering he’s 37 years old and hitting .197.
However, the veteran catcher told Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review that he’d be willing to take a lesser salary if the Pirates wanted him back next season, saying: “I would like to be back here … if that means we have to try to figure something out, then absolutely.”
Of course, even then Pittsburgh might not be interested. In addition to struggling offensively Barajas has thrown out just 4-of-65 stolen base attempts. General manager Neal Huntington was non-committal when asked about Barajas’ status, explaining that “we’re open to any consideration, but I’m not ready to commit to anything right now.”
It’s hard to imagine the Pirates not being able to do better regardless of how much of a pay cut Barajas has in mind.
John Wisely of the Detroit Free Press reports that current free agent reliever Francisco Rodriguez is being sued by his former landlord for damage to the rented property as well as missing artwork. The landlord is asking for $80,000 after having kept Rodriguez’s $15,000 security deposit.
The lawsuit says that Rodriguez damaged a bedroom TV, a crystal floor lamp, glass shelves in the bar, glass tiles in the master bath, and a Moroccan mirror in the powder room. Additionally, the suit claims that the bedding is stained and paint has chipped, as well as other damages. And the piece of art that is allegedly missing, which depicts a tiger, is valued at more than $10,000.
Rodriguez has not yet been served with the suit, but the landlord has been speaking to his managers.
The Nationals released Rodriguez, 35, two weeks ago after having signed him to a minor league contract in late June. He started the season with the Tigers, but struggled to a 7.82 ERA over 25 1/3 innings before being released.
MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reports that the Rays have acquired first baseman Lucas Duda from the Mets. The Mets will receive pitching prospect Drew Smith in return, per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.
Duda, 31, is batting .246/.347/.532 with 17 home runs and 37 RBI in 291 plate appearances for the Mets this season. He’ll provide a potent bat in the Rays’ lineup as they attempt to overcome their current 2.5-game deficit in the AL East.
Smith, 23, is the Rays’ No. 30 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. He ascended from High-A to Triple-A already this season, posting an aggregate 1.60 ERA with a 40/9 K/BB ratio over 45 innings across four stops with High-A Lakeland (Tigers), High-A Charlotte (Rays), Double-A Montgomery, and Triple-A Durham.