I haven't spent a lot of time on the catcher story this off-season, but I feel it deserves a bit more attention right now. About a week and a half ago, the reports coming out of Denver were that the Rockies were "concerned enough about Yorvit Torrealba's recovery from shoulder injuries to express interest in starters," and the one starter that they had the most interest in was Rod Barajas.
Alright, well at least we have Iannetta this time around to start the first couple of months of the season rather than Danny Ardoin, but the news was disheartening nonetheless. First of all, I like Barajas. His offensive numbers are helped a bit by playing in Arlington, but he'd be a solid addition to the squad and a capable alternative starter. The problem is this offseason has gotten crazy with the numbers, making any free agent pursuit -even for middle of the road players like Barajas- a dive into lunacy. What sort of lunacy will Barajas be? Let's try and take a guess:
Barajas is reportedly seeking a two year deal.
He's going to get that given that there are two teams definitely looking at him in Philadelphia and Colorado, and a third in the Blue Jays who are purportedly interested as well.
Barajas is seeking a raise.
He made $3.2 million last season but didn't perform as well at the plate as he had in 2005. Still, I can tell you that he's not going to be taking a pay cut (did I mention that the Giants have also been tied to this chase?) anyway, given the amount of teams supposedly pursuing him, I'd say we can probably pencil in a raise in salary of $100,000 for each of them, leaving him looking at a deal somewhere around two years, $7.2 million dollars. That doesn't sound like the Rockies bid. Would it be enough? I'm not even sure now. What about other catchers, won't they drive the price back down? Okay, there is a wild card in the D-backs who are eager to unload Johnny Estrada. One of these teams will wind up with him instead, maybe knocking 100 G's a year off that figure if we're lucky.
But here's some more bad news: given that the Cubs just gave eight years to Soriano, it appears the length of contracts is going up as well as the price. What does that mean for a 31 year old catcher? Maybe one more season. My current guess for the final outcome of the Rod Barajas derby:
Toronto Blue Jays, 3 years, $11 million dollars.
Yikes. Welcome to Colorado, Geronimo Gil.