THE CANADIAN PRESS
TORONTO — The Toronto Blue Jays exercised the US$2.5-million contract option on Rod Barajas on Friday, settling one part of their catching equation for the 2009 season.
A decision to retain the 33-year-old was made in September as Barajas finished a solid season in which he hit .249 with 23 doubles, 11 home runs and 49 RBIs in 104 games.
Barajas was also praised for his handling of the pitching staff and threw out 17 of 59 potential base stealers in 2008, a 28.8 per cent success rate.
The Blue Jays now must find someone to back him up behind the plate, as they are expected to part ways with Gregg Zaun, who is headed for free agency.
An inexpensive veteran backup is one route they can go although the team has kicked around starting the season with farmhand Curtis Thigpen as the backup while prospects Brian Jeroloman and J.P. Arencibia, considered the team’s catcher of the future, develop further in the minors.
Jeroloman, a strong defensive catcher whose glove is considered ready for the majors but not his bat, may also be given a shot to win the job at spring training.