GM: Toronto open to re-signing Scutaro, Barajas

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Last month manager Cito Gaston indicated that catcher Rod Barajas wouldn’t be back in Toronto next season, but new general manager Alex Anthopoulos said yesterday that he’s interested in re-signing both Barajas and fellow free agent Marco Scutaro.
Blue Jays fans are free to interpret that as a sign Gaston himself might not be back in 2010, but it’s worth noting that along with saying “we like both players” and “we’d like to bring them both back” Anthopoulos added “but we can’t make a bad deal.” In other words, there’s a big difference between being open to re-signing a player and being open to re-signing a player at market value.
Re-signing Barajas figures to be the easy part thanks to his .661 OPS, although certainly as a veteran catcher with good power it’s possible that some team will overpay via a multi-year deal. On the other hand there’s little doubt that Scutaro is about to cash in on the open market following a career-year that saw him hit .282/.379/.409 with 12 homers, 35 doubles, 14 steals, and 90 walks while starting 143 games at shortstop.
My guess is that Barajas will only be back in Toronto if he’s willing to accept a modest one-year deal and Scutaro will find his big payday elsewhere, because handing out multi-year contracts to a pair of 34-year-olds likely isn’t how Anthopoulos wants to kick off his tenure as J.P. Ricciardi’s replacement.

Pirates activate Starling Marte

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Pirates outfielder Starling Marte is back in the lineup after the team reinstated him from the 10-day disabled list on Saturday. Marte served the bare minimum on the DL after making a rapid recovery from the right oblique strain that sidelined him several weeks ago.

Prior to landing on the disabled list, the 29-year-old outfielder was off to a strong start. He slashed a robust .308/.366/.503 with six home runs, 10 stolen bases and an .869 OPS in 175 plate appearances with the team. This is the first time he’s dealt with an oblique issue, and the first DL stint he’s served since he suffered a bout of back tightness in 2016. While he has yet to prove he can bounce back to his pre-injury production levels, his quick recovery bodes well for a successful return to major-league play.

In a corresponding move, outfielder Jose Osuna was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis. The move came as somewhat of a surprise, given that the Pirates elected to retain top prospect outfielder Austin Meadows rather than the more established Osuna. Meadows was recalled from Triple-A in the wake of Marte’s injury and has only played seven games at the major league level so far, but he’s already made a strong impression: he went 13-for-29 with three home runs, two stolen bases and five RBI since his call-up on May 18.