Groupon might have turned down $6 billion from Google, but Rod Barajas knows a great deal when he sees one.
As we suspected after enjoying a similar late-season hot streak, Barajas will join the likes of Jay Gibbons and Ted Lilly in in a Dodger uniform next season, having signed a one-year contract to return to the team. What we didn't suspect was how much he would get paid.
A year ago, Barajas went unsigned until February, before getting a $500,000 base salary from the Mets and another $400,000 for making the Opening Day roster, according to Cot's Baseball Contracts. The potential of $1 million in performance bonuses gave him a maximum 2010 income of $1.9 million.
He then went onto have a .263 on-base percentage and .414 slugging percentage before being designated for assignment in August. The Dodgers picked him up, and he had a hot streak. Barajas, who turned 35 in September, ripped a .939 OPS for the Dodgers, though only over 72 plate appearances.
Somehow, he has parlayed that into a $3.25 million guarantee for 2011. Incredible. That's at least double my estimate of his market value — I had thought Barajas and Gibbons could be had for $2 million combined. Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. was in a similar neighborhood — $1.5 million for Barajas.
After his peak season of 2005, when he was only 30, Barajas only drew a $3.2 million salary. Somehow, he has managed to top it.
Looking at the totality of his career (.284 OBP, .696 OPS), it seems more likely that he'll be next year's version of Ronnie Belliard at the plate (if not Marlon Anderson 2007). For someone who contribute as much (or as little) as Barajas, it's a shocking amount of money.