As expected, the Pirates on Wednesday exercised Pedro Alvarez's 2013 contract option for $700,000 and declined an option for next season on catcher Rod Barajas for $3.5 million.
Alvarez's option was the first of two included in the four-year, $6.355 million Major League contract he had signed after his first-round selection in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft as the second national choice.
Barajas, 37, hit just .207/.283/.343 with eleven home runs in one hundred four games for the Pirates this season. The veteran’s offensive struggles, along with the emergence of the decade-younger Michael McKenry, made declining Barajas’ option a no-brainer for the Bucs.
Alvarez, 25, has a $700k option for the 2014 season as well, which the Pirates are sure to pick up if he produces like he did this season. The free-swinging third baseman hit .244/.317/.467 with thirty home runs in one hundred forty-nine games at the hot corner this year.
In another minor move, the Pirates granted left-hander Hisanori Takahashi -- who was acquired on waivers from the Angels in August -- his outright release.