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Barajas willing to take less money to stay a Pirate

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The Pirates' Rod Barajas tosses his bat after striking out in the ninth inning against the Reds on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012, in Cincinnati. (AP)

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Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012, 5:36 p.m.

Catcher Rod Barajas is open to re-signing with the Pirates for less money if the club does not pick up his $3.5 million contract option for 2013.

Barajas, 37, is making $4 million this season. The option for next year has no buyout.

“I would like to be back here,” Barajas said. “If that means we have to try to figure something out, then absolutely.”

Barajas is batting .197 with nine homers, 25 RBI and a .593 OPS. He has made four errors, been charged with six passed balls and has thrown out 4 of 65 base-stealers, a 6 percent success rate. Pirates pitchers have a combined 3.59 ERA when he is behind the plate.

“I've gotten to know the guys pretty well,” Barajas said. “When you get a feel for a rotation, it's always nice to come back and not go through a huge learning curve. It would be fun to come back.”

Entering this season, there were questions about Barajas' durability. Yet the 14-year veteran is on pace to play in 107 games, which would be his highest total since 2009.

The Pirates have not approached Barajas about whether they will trigger his option or if it's open to negotiation. General manager Neal Huntington did not rule out Barajas returning in 2013.

“We're open to any consideration,” Huntington said. “But I'm not ready to commit to anything right now.”

The free-agent market for catchers this offseason will be shallow. Michael McKenry, who has played in 73 games this season, will return next year. Tony Sanchez, a first-round draft pick in 2009, spent all of this season at Triple-A and could vie for a big league job in spring training.

“We'll go through an exhaustive process this offseason to see what our internal and external options are: trade, free agency, what have you,” Huntington said. “We'll work hard to put the best player in the right spot.”

Rob Biertempfel is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at or 412-320-7811.

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