Monday, February 22, 2010

Who Is This Guy?: Rod Barajas

One day after Jerry Manuel told reporters that he was content with Omir Santos as his starting catcher, the Mets signed catcher Rod Barajas to a one-year, one million dollar contract. Whoops. Here's some background on the newest Metropolitan:

- Rod Barajas was born as Rodrigo Richard Barajas on September 5, 1975 in Ontario. California. No Canuck here.

- He is NOT nicknamed "Hot Rod", "Rowdy Rod" or "Inanimate carbon rod". Stupid rod.

- He is the father of six children. None of them have cool nicknames either.

- Barajas made his debut for the Arizona Diamondbacks on September 25, 1999. He didn't get sufficient playing time until 2001 when he appeared in 51 games, managing a .160 average. However, he only committed one error behind the plate and hit a home run in Game 5 of the World Series.

- He has a championship ring from that aforementioned World Series.

- Barajas, backing up Damian Miller for three seasons in Arizona, signed and went on to play for the Texas Rangers from 2004-2006. Rod played for the Phillies in 2007 before catching for the Blue Jays the past two years.

- The good: In seasons where Rod has played in 97 games or more, Barajas has hit at least 11 home runs. Rod in 125 games hit 19 home runs in 2009. Daniel Murphy led the Mets last season in home runs with 12. (In 155 games.)

- Barajas has consistently been known as a terrific defensive player, throwing out 27 out of 80 baserunners last season.

- He caught current Phillie ace Roy Halladay the last two years. That should come in handy.

- The not so good (until it gets better): His lifetime batting average is .238. Rod hit .226 last year and Bill James only predicts a six point increase. His OPS however was .661, which wasn't that much worse than Omir Santos's .688 number, and both Bill James and CHONE predict he would hit better in this category than Omir would.

- Optimism!

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