The Pirates on Wednesday officially declined Rod Barajas' 2013 contract option, making the catcher a free agent.
Barajas had a $3.5 million option for 2013 with no buyout. The Pirates also exercised Pedro Alvarez's option for next season, worth $700,000.
The Pirates will now look for a catcher to play alongside Michael McKenry. They could bring Barajas back for a lower salary and Clint Hurdle has expressed interest in doing so, but the 37-year-old catcher said he would consider playing closer to home. His wife and seven children live in San Diego.
Barajas hit .206 with a .283 on-base percentage this season and threw out only 6 percent of potential base stealers.
McKenry, 27, hit .233 with a .320 on-base percentage and 12 home runs in 275 plate appearances.
Alvarez rebounded from a disappointing 2011 season to hit .244 with 30 home runs, though he did strike out 180 times. He could have voided his option if he was eligible for salary arbitration, but his service time fell a few weeks short.
Bill Brink: email@example.com