The Mockingbird

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Barajas Take Two

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Do not adjust your calendar. The Blue Jays have signed Rod Barajas after he left them at the altar last year. Now it makes sense why the club confirmed a lack of interest in the few catchers left (Barrett, Lieberthal), but didn’t even hint at who they might be signing until the deal was done. Hopefully the contract is signed in blood this time because that was just stupid last year.

Ironically, the picture from the Jays home page (ripped off at right) is Rod pulling his apparently patented (ripped via DJF) move on a play at home where he has the ball but bends over at the waist to swipe the runners upper body instead of getting down to block the plate and hopes the ump gives it to him because the ball was there first. I saw maybe 2 Phillies’ games last season and I swear I saw this exact moment and Ramirez scored for no particular reason. And you thought it was fun to whine about Zaun’s arm…

I’m sure a lot will be made out of the about-face this represents, and J.P. certainly sounded ticked after being publicly embarrassed, delivering as un-mealy-mouthed-as-he-gets quotes such as:

“Where I come from, your word means something and your handshake means something and we had more than a handshake,” Ricciardi said. “I’ll leave it at that.”

Ricciardi later noted that he only wants players that are eager to play for the Blue Jays.

“If your word doesn’t mean anything any more, and your signature don’t mean anything, what kind of world do we live in,” Ricciardi said. “It’s all right. It worked out for the better. … If he feels uncomfortable, we don’t want him here. I was disappointed in the fact that the player would go back on his word and a new agent just came in and said we have no deal.”

But as usual if you really want to know what’s going on, follow the money. Barajas weaseled out last season because either he or the MLBPA didn’t think his agent was getting him enough money, not because his wife didn’t like Toronto or whatever. Now the Jays are getting him for 1.2 million for one year with an option instead of 2.6+ for two, which makes him a quality backup/platoon rather than a poor (and first-time) starter.

I can almost write the article Griffin is going to write about “what message this sends”, and it’s stupid. The message is the Jays need a backup catcher whose name is not Sal Fasano, and Barajas was above-average even last season and comes cheap compared to the ridiculous contracts handed out to guys like Kendall and Torrealba. He has a little power, swings at everything, and has an arm that’s good enough we’ll really get to see how impossible it is to throw out someone with Dustin McGowan or A.J. Burnett on the mound.

And think about it- he’s basically come crawling back to the club. We were ready to make him a starter for two years and he ended up falling out of favour in Philly and riding the pine. Now we’re paying him half what he turned down, he’s gone back to being a backup and the Jays even have a team option for once. Talk about greed blowing up on your face…it’s almost sweeter that he ended up coming to the club after all under much less favourable terms.

I would also like to take this moment to do the opposite of the classic blissfully-moving-right-along technique they teach in journalism school. BOY WAS I WRONG about why J.P. didn’t want to get into who/what they were looking at beyond mumbling something about the bench. Turns out it was just another brush-off of a bunch of hacks. I love that man.


Written by halejon

January 25, 2008 at 12:40 am

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