Gaston, Barajas differ on catcher's future
Backstop differs with manager, feels he'll be a Jay in 2010
TORONTO -- Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston suggested on Thursday that catcher Rod Barajas, who can be a free agent at the end of the season, would not be back next year with the team.Gaston was asked at his daily media briefing what he would suggest to general manager J.P. Ricciardi when discussing needs for next season. "What would I tell him right now?" Gaston asked. "I think we're not going to have a catcher next year. I don't think Barajas is coming back, but [Raul] Chavez has done a great job as far as being a backup here." And he praised the catching combination that produced 18 home runs and 76 RBIs. Barajas has 16 homers and 61 RBIs with a .238 batting average. "Not too bad for catchers," Gaston said. Asked why he thought Barajas might not return next year, Gaston said: "He's a free agent. Has he given me the impression he's not coming back? Well, I don't think anybody has tried to sign him. So he's going to be out there." Barajas seemed surprised. "I don't know why someone would assume that," Barajas said. "I don't think I've had any issues in the clubhouse, I've never said anything negative to pretty much anybody. I enjoy it here, I have fun here and I don't see any reason for someone to make that assumption about me coming back. "He's probably had some talks with some people and they've come to that conclusion. If it was up to me, I'd love to come back. Maybe they don't want me back." Gaston said that although he has input, the final say rests with the general manager.
"We talk about it," Gaston said. " But it's always the general manager [who] will finally pick out what he thinks we need."The Blue Jays have put off talks with possible free agents, including shortstop Marco Scutaro, until after the season.
Larry Millson is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.