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Jays express interest in Torrealba

Jays express interest in Torrealba

TORONTO -- In need of help behind the plate, the Blue Jays have inquired about free-agent catcher Yorvit Torrealba multiple times and are expected to make a formal contract offer, according to an industry source.

Torrealba's agent, Melvin Roman, confirmed on Tuesday that Toronto has reached out to him on more than one occasion to discuss the catcher's future, but he declined further comment. Beyond the Blue Jays, Torreabla has suitors in the Rockies and Giants, with two or three other teams expressing some level of interest.

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"They did call. They have called a few times already," said Roman, referring to the Blue Jays. "We have spoken about the possibilities with Toronto. They did call and ask about Torrealba."

Rod Barajas, who served as Toronto's primary catcher over the last two seasons, is a free agent this winter, leaving a vacancy behind the plate for the Jays. The only catcher with big league experience currently on the Jays' roster is Raul Chavez, who is eligible for arbitration this winter and is expected to return as the backup.

Last season, the 31-year-old Torrealba hit .291 with two home runs and 31 RBIs over 64 games with the Rockies. The Jays expressed some mild interest in Torrealba prior to the 2008 season, but the catcher signed a two-year, $7.25 million deal to remain in Colorado. Toronto then signed Barajas to a one-year contract that included a $2.5 million option for 2009.

Barajas, 34, hit .226 with 19 homers and 71 RBIs across 125 games for the Blue Jays in 2009. He is eligible as a Type B free agent, meaning Toronto will receive a sandwich pick between the first and second rounds of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft if he declines arbitration and then signs with another team.

Torrealba is also considered a Type B free agent, so the Rockies will receive a sandwich selection in next June's Draft if he turns down arbitration and signs with a new team. The signing team does not lose a Draft pick, though.

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

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