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Rod Barajas takes his talents to Pittsburgh

November 10, 2011 | 12:46 pm

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As shock waves go, this won’t quite rate up there with Frank McCourt really does agree to sell, but nonetheless there will be those surprised by the news that catcher Rod Barajas is moving on.

Barajas, a Southern California native who wanted to remain with the Dodgers, signed a one-year deal with Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday. He signed for a reported $4 million, with the club holding a $3.5 million option for 2013.

That’s some serious cash for a 36-year-old catcher with a career .238 batting average, but that tells you plenty about the state of catching these days.

Most were stunned when the Dodgers rushed to sign him for $3.25 million last off-season after they were unable to come to terms with Russell Martin.

However streaky, Barajas gave them what they asked for: a veteran behind the plate who could add some occasional pop (16 home runs, second on the team).

Sans Barajas, however, the Dodgers are left without a veteran catcher. The only two catchers currently on their roster are A.J. Ellis and Tim Federowicz.

Barajas was well liked by the pitching staff, was a popular teammate and it would be pretty risky for the Dodgers to start the season without a veteran catcher.  Ellis spent most of last season at triple-A and Federowicz at double-A.

Still, $4 million for Barajas is even stranger than what the Dodgers paid him last year. And they picked him up on waivers from the Mets, where he was making only $500,000.

The good news is that he’s expected to be a Type B free agent, so there should be a compensation draft pick.

The market on free-agent catchers is particularly weak, but then the Pirates could have told you that.

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-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Former Dodgers catcher Rod Barajas. Credit: Harry How / Getty Images

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