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Phillies to sign Barajas

Eddie Altamonte

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Phillies close to deal with Barajas

12/19/2006 9:00 PM ET

By Ken Mandel / MLB.com


PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies appeared to have upgraded at catcher Tuesday by agreeing to a deal with Rod Barajas.

A baseball source said the team was close to signing the veteran backstop, though the terms were unknown. General manager Pat Gillick had no comment on an agreement, which likely can't come until after Barajas passes a physical.


A deal with Barajas comes hours after the team signed outfielder Jayson Werth, who earlier in the week had been non-tendered by the Dodgers. By nightfall, the Phillies may have addressed their catching with the veteran of 536 Major League games.


The righty swinger, 31, is regarded as a solid receiver with a good throwing arm and pop at the plate. In 97 games with Texas last season, he hit 11 homers and drove in 41 runs in 344 at-bats. In 2005, he set career highs with 21 homers and 60 RBIs in 120 games, also with the Rangers.


Barajas' arrival could take some pressure off Carlos Ruiz, who was expected to inherit the job after two solid seasons at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. With the Phillies hoping to be in a pennant race, the more experienced Barajas could mentor Ruiz in areas that go beyond learning how to handle a big-league pitching staff.


The move might also allow Chris Coste to serve as the team's primary pinch-hitter, third catcher and emergency corner infielder, giving manager Charlie Manuel more options late in games. Though Coste thrived catching the bulk of Philadelphia's games last season, the Phillies had been looking at options for an upgrade.


Last month, Barajas signed a terms sheet with Toronto on a two-year, $5.25-million deal, though that deal fell apart at the last minute after he switched agents. Toronto signed Gregg Zaun and Barajas went back on the market.


He was believed to have picked the Phillies over the Rockies and Rangers

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