Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Rod Barajas and collusion

After his game-winning homer last night, Rod Barajas leads all MLB catchers with seven longballs and is third in RBI with 14. He's also a good defensive catcher who has drawn praise for his work with the Mets pitching staff. Barajas may not be destined for the All-Star team, particularly since he is also hitting .231 with just two walks in 83 plate appearances. But I think everyone can agree that he is at least a solid major-league catcher.

But Barajas had trouble getting a major-league contract this past offseason despite putting up good power numbers for a catcher for Toronto last year (19 homers, 71 RBI). In late February, the Mets and Rangers offered Barajas minor-league deals. The Mets signed Barajas when they upgraded their offer to a major-league deal, the first and only such offer Barajas received.

At the start of the season, the head of the Players' Union said that he was considering filing a collusion grievance because players were getting similar offers from different teams. Barajas ended up getting $1 million guaranteed from the Mets with an additional $1M in incentives. Last year, he made $2.5 million with Toronto.

If every offer Barajas received was a significant pay cut, it could be collusion, and it also could be a market correction in a down economy.

But what's harder to justify is that the only offers Barajas received were for minor-league deals. How could all thirty clubs agree that Rod Barajas was not necessarily a major-league catcher?

Fortunately for the players, some players did get deals that couldn't have had anything do to with collusion. For example, Omar Minaya gave Kelvim Escobar $1.25 million guaranteed to, well, have more surgery. Mike Jacobs got $900,000 if he made the majors with $1.1M in incentives. Alex Cora got $2 million.

So before giving Minaya any credit for landing Barajas at a discount, think about what he did with the money he saved by not signing Bengie Molina.

1 comment:

Michael said...

Molina didn't want to come to the Mets anyhow, he just wanted to use them to ratchet up his price for the Giants.
The only reason the Mets offered a Major League contract is because they are at least a year away from Josh Thole taking the position long-term.

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