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.
The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.
In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.
The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.