Pirates sign Rod Barajas to one-year deal with club option for 2013

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UPDATE: Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports hears that Barajas will make $4 million next season while the contract includes a $3.5 million option for 2013. Barajas made $3.25 million with the Dodgers in 2011.

11:58 AM: After declining the options on Ryan Doumit and Chris Snyder at the end of October, the Pirates have settled on a new starting catcher for next season.

The Pirates just announced that they have signed veteran backstop Rod Barajas to a one-year deal with a club option for 2013. No details on the contract information yet.

Barajas, 36, batted .230/.287/.430 with 16 home runs and 47 RBI over 336 plate appearances with the Dodgers this season. His .717 OPS was 20th among MLB catchers with at least 250 plate appearances. He threw out 25 percent (20-for-80) of would-be basestealers.

Barajas was a Type B free agent this offseason, so the Dodgers will receive a compensatory draft pick in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft.

Pitch clock cut minor league games by 25 minutes to 2:38

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NEW YORK — Use of pitch clocks cut the average time of minor league games by 25 minutes this year, a reduction Major League Baseball hopes is replicated when the devices are installed in the big leagues next season.

The average time of minor league games dropped to 2 hours, 38 minutes in the season that ended Wednesday, according to the commissioner’s office. That was down from 3:03 during the 2021 season.

Clocks at Triple-A were set at 14 seconds with no runners on base and 19 with runners. At lower levels, the clocks were at 18 seconds with runners.

Big league nine-inning games are averaging 3:04 this season.

MLB announced on Sept. 9 that clocks will be introduced in the major leagues next year at 15 seconds with no runners and 20 seconds with runners, a decision opposed by the players’ association.

Pitchers are penalized a ball for violating the clock. In the minors, violations decreased from an average of 1.73 per game in the second week to 0.41 in week 24.

There will be a limit of two pickoff attempts or stepoffs per plate appearance, a rule that also was part of the minor league experiment this season. A third pickoff throw that is not successful would result in a balk.

Stolen bases increased to an average of 2.81 per game from 2.23 in the minors this year and the success rate rose to 78% from 68%.

Many offensive measurements were relatively stable: runs per team per game increased to 5.13 from 5.11 and batting average to .249 from .247.

Plate appearances resulting in home runs dropped to 2.7% from 2.8%, strikeouts declined to 24.4% from 25.4% and walks rose to 10.5% from 10.2%. Hit batters remained at 1.6%.