In a move that defied both logic and track record, Pat Gillick signed Rod Barajas to a one year, 2.5 million dollar deal a few weeks back. What does this mean? Well, it probably means about 80-100 starts of fun out of ol’ Roddy. And that’s not good for the Phillies because Rod Barajas freaking sucks.
Rod Barajas came to the majors as an Arizona Diamondback with the reputation of having a good arm, good defense, and lots of power. He had at least a 170 isolated power(slugging – average) in 3 of his first 4 seasons in the minors, and had over 200 in 2 of those seasons. The guy could hit for power. What he was missing at the plate was discipline. He put up a decent enough OBP in 3 seasons, and only played in 57 games in 1997 anyway. The Diamondbacks thought enough of him to bring him up in September 2000 for a cup of coffee and, while he didn’t exactly light up the stat sheet, he showed promise. Then in parts of 2001, his season in AAA Tuscon was great, with him hitting .321 with a 366 OBP and 568 slugging percentage (934 OPS). He still showed that nagging tendency to swing a lot and swing hard, but he actually connected a bunch, thus creating a lot of power and helping his teams win.
But that didn’t exactly translate to the majors. He actually started the 2001 season in the majors fairly early, and did well. In his first month (where he garned 26 at bats) he amassed a 1.011 OPS, and his 3 homers. He then proceeded to go homerless the rest of the season, and by the end of the year his OPS bottomed out at 478, and his OBP was a sickly .196 (.165 avg) in 106 AB. The team that ended up 92-70 and won the World Series was 25-25 with Barajas behind the plate.
His 2002 was not much better, despite getting 50 more at bats. A .288 OBP, 645 OPS, and 3 homers was all that he collected for the season, and yet he somehow did even WORSE in 2003, sporting a 265 OBP, 592 OPS and 3 homers in 220 AB. The Diamondbacks were essentially giving away at bats by filling 150-220 up with Rod’s bat. And they knew it, and didn’t re-sign him.
So then the Texas Rangers signs him to be their starting catcher, and he sucks there. However, his power does come back to him, and in 2004 he hit 15 homers and had a .204 ISO. Still, his horrible .276 OBP negated any positives he brought to the plate. 2005 was slightly better as he set career highs across the board. 254/306/466 for a 772 OPS (by far his highest OBP and OPS), and his 21 homers in 410 at bats. Wowzers! Despite the still horrendous OBP, his power was enough to entice the Rangers to give him the plate again in 2006. Barajas went back to earth from his glorious, amazing, HOF-worthy year prior, and struggled towards a .298 OBP and 708 OPS in 2006. Even the Rangers realized he wasn’t that good, as he didn’t reach triple digits in games played (97).
So where does that leave us? Well, let’s look at a few lists(OBP, OPS, ISO):
OBP (league avg)
01 – .196 (.348)
02 – .288 (.350)
03 – .265 (.355)
04 – .276 (.353)
05 – .306 (.336)
06 – .298 (.345)Wow, he just sucks here. He at least hit for some contact in the minors, but once he hit the majors he just completely lost any sort of contact or patience he might have had. He’s way below league average EVERY SINGLE SEASON.
OPS (league average)
01 – 478 (799)
02 – 645 (788)
03 – 592 (806)
04 – 729 (807)
05 – 772 (769)
06 – 708 (791)
So out of 6 seasons, 3 of which he started, he was above league average in exactly one of those seasons, and it was slugging-heavy. He also had that season when he was 29, and probably at his peak.
01 – .113
02 – .123
03 – .109
04 – .204
05 – .212
06 – .154
He had two very good seasons here, in 04 and 05. Obviously he needs to start and get enough atbats to be able to find his power stroke…but is it worth it for the team that starts him, considering they also have to deal with his complete inability to get on base? I’d say definitely no. But you know who would probably say yes? Pat Gillick:
“Rod brings a lot to the table both offensively and defensively,” Phillies general manager Pat Gillick said. “He’s a proven winner who gives us added depth at that position.”
Well, he may bring something to the table defensively, but offensively he’s had one average season and a bunch of sucky ones. And he’s a proven winner? Why? Because he absolutely sucked as a backup on the 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks?
Remember only a few months back when Abraham Nunez was PROMOTED to a full-time gig after completely failing as a super-sub? Remember that it took a retirement to get Alex Gonzalez to stop getting at bats? Prepare for another waste of space, this time in the form of catcher Rod Barajas.
Oh, he’s also not yet sponsored on Baseball-Reference. Only 20 bucks for a willing Phils fan! What a steal! Much cheaper than that 2.5 million dollar price tag the Phils are paying him to suck.