Barajas signed deal before backing out

Barajas signed deal before backing out

TORONTO -- As far as the Blue Jays were concerned, they had signed free-agent catcher Rod Barajas. After all, he had signed an agreement.

On Tuesday, Toronto general manager J.P. Ricciardi said that Barajas and the Jays had "more than a handshake," regarding the two-year contract the catcher was offered. On Wednesday, at a press conference to announce the re-signing of catcher Gregg Zaun, Ricciardi acknowledged that Barajas actually signed before backing out two days earlier.

"Where I'm from, that's done," Ricciardi said. "If your word doesn't mean anything any more or your signature doesn't mean anything, what kind of world do we live in? It's all right, though. This worked out for the better.

"We were going to have a press conference for him and we were flying his family up."

Barajas signed an agreement for a two-year deal worth $5.25 million with Toronto and only needed to pass a physical to finalize the contract. That was before Barajas fired his agents -- Terry Bross and Greg Clifton -- and hired Dan Lozano as his new representative.

Lozano then tried to reopen discussions with the Blue Jays, but Ricciardi wouldn't have any part in it.

"The original two agents agreed, and they did a great job -- a super job," Ricciardi said. "Your word is supposed to mean something. What does that say to the agents you just did a deal with? You're going to get a new agent and start renegotiating? No."

"I was disappointed in the fact that the player would go back on his word and a new agent just came in and now we have no deal," he added. "Look, we don't want anyone who doesn't want to be here. If you don't want to be here, we don't need you. The game isn't going to stop."

Ricciardi emphasized that point late Monday night, when he needed all of an hour to re-sign Zaun to a two-year deal worth $7.25 million that includes a vesting option for 2009.

"I'm going to take the high road," Ricciardi said. "We're happy with Zaunie and we'll remember this one."

Lozano didn't agree with Ricciardi's take on the situation.

"When I spoke to J.P., I was still in the information-gathering mode," Lozano told The Associated Press. "I never at that point said I wanted to reopen negotiations. I simply informed J.P. that I represented Rod Barajas again, and told him that I had to call the union to get the union involved. J.P.'s response to me was: 'I'm calling the commissioner's office.'

"After gathering information from Rod Barajas, it is of my opinion that there were things that were not done properly. But I'm not going to comment on those. I don't think that J.P. has the right to judge Rod Barajas' character, since he has never spoken to Rod Barajas."

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.