Pittsburgh made a pair of expected option decisions, declining a $4 million deal with catcher Rod Barajas and exercising a $700,000 deal with third baseman Pedro Alvarez.
Barajas knew the move was coming after he hit just .206 this season and has said he’d be willing to take less money to remain in Pittsburgh, but there’s little indication that the Pirates are interested in bringing back the 36-year-old.
Alvarez’s option is part of the original contract he signed after being drafted second overall out of Vanderbilt in 2008 and he’s under team control through 2016.
While newly-acquired talent Danny Espinosa was off collecting hits for the Blue Jays against the Orioles, Marcus Stroman led a youth-filled roster against the Canadian Junior National Team in a split-squad game on Saturday. In the eighth inning, 17-year-old Canadian pitcher Braden Halladay took the mound to honor his late father’s memory against his former team.
Halladay accomplished just that, wielding a fastball that topped out in the low-80s and setting down a perfect 1-2-3 inning against the top of the lineup. No one batter saw more than a single pitch from the right-hander: Mc Gregory Contreras and Mattingly Romanin flew out to the outfield corners and Bo Bichette laid down a ground ball for an easy third out.
MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm has a fantastic profile of the high school junior, including his approach to the game and his attempt to do Roy Halladay proud while carving out his own path to the majors. “From a pitching standpoint, it was everything I could have asked for and more,” Halladay told reporters. “Especially now, every time I make mistakes, I still hear him drilling me about them in my head, just because he’s done it so many times before. From a mind-set standpoint, I don’t think with any bias that I could have had a better teacher.”