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January 08, 2005

Barajas gets paid

Texas signed catcher ROD BARAJAS to a one-year, $1.85 million contract.


Last year at this time, Barajas was a non-roster invitee on one of the worst teams in baseball. Now, he's a millionaire.

Barajas earned a 270% raise over last year's $500,000. More to the point, Texas gave him a 270% raise to avoid arbitration. Arbitration must be worse than death to John Hart.

From the beginning of the 2004 season through June 24th (an eighteen-inning marathon against Seattle), Rod Barajas saw the ball as never before, batting .284/.293/.627 and belting twelve homers in 134 at-bats. Yes, that's a .009 difference between his on-base percentage and batting average, courtesy of one walk and a couple of HBPs. Well, he was locked in.

That stretch represents about 15% of his career. In the other 85%, Barajas has batted .217/.259/.338 with 14 homers in 733 at-bats.

Defensively, Barajas is considered average, perhaps better than average. He would need to catch like a 25-year-old Pudge Rodriguez to offset his offensive inability, and he most certainly does not.

Barajas deserves much praise for his role in the Rangers' first-half surge that resulted in meaningful September baseball for the first time in five years. Unfortunately, as with Herbert Perry before, the Rangers appear to have paid him as a reward for previous performance, not for a realistic assessment of how he might play in 2005.

Revisiting the statistical breakdown, I'd say, at absolute best, there's a 15% chance Barajas hits well enough to justify his contract. More likely, he'll hit about .240/.270/.390 and combine with Sandy Alomar to provide the one of the worst-hitting catching tandems in baseball.

Posted by Lucas at January 8, 2005 07:25 PM