The Los Angeles Dodgersand free agent Rod Barajas agreed on a one-year contract Friday after the veteran catcher passed a physical. Financial terms of the deal were not announced, but a source with knowledge of the situation said the contract carries a base salary of $3.25 million with no additional performance bonuses.
Barajas, 35, is expected to be the club's primary catcher in 2011, with A.J. Ellis returning as the backup.
The agreement was reached Thursday, as the deadline drew near for offering a contract to Russell Martin, the Dodgers' primary catcher for the past five seasons. When the club couldn't reach agreement with Martin on a 2011 salary less than his 2010 salary of $5.05 million, the decision was made to non-tender Martin, making him a free agent.
Barajas, who grew up in Norwalk rooting for the Dodgers, was the team's primary catcher after he was acquired from the New York Mets on Aug. 22, a point at which Martin already had been lost for the season to a hip injury. Barajas hit .297 with a .361 on-base percentage for the Dodgers, hitting five home runs -- as many as Martin had hit in four months before his injury -- and driving in 13 runs.
"We have seen that Rod can change the game with one swing," Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said in a statement. "He is a veteran catcher who knows how to handle a pitching staff. We are looking forward to having him back with the team next season."
Although Barajas threw out just 15 percent (2-of-13) of would-be base stealers during his time with the Dodgers, he has a solid career mark of 32 percent (161-of-499) during his 12 major league seasons, which have been spent with six clubs. A Santa Fe Springs High School graduate, he was signed as an undrafted free agent in 1996 by the Arizona Diamondbacks, who at the time were an expansion team two years away from their first game.
The Dodgers remain open to negotiating with Martin, but Colletti said Thursday night that if Martin is re-signed, he probably would be asked to play multiple positions, including left field and third base.
Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.