TORONTO — Free-agent catcher Gregg Zaun vented some frustration with the Blue Jays in an article that appeared in the National Post on Monday. In July, Zaun admitted to being open to a trade out of Toronto, but general manager J.P. Ricciardi countered by saying there were no interested parties. Zaun told the newspaper that the Jays “had a trade in place” and backed out.
“It sure wasn’t easy to take when J.P. in the papers was telling everybody in the baseball world that nobody wanted me, when I knew that that was in fact not the truth,” Zaun told the newspaper. “To say that nobody was interested in me was inaccurate and embarrassing and it really made me look bad. I wasn’t happy with that.”
Zaun also expressed some frustration about an apparent lack of communication from the Blue Jays, who handed the starting catching job to Rod Barajas after Zaun returned from a stint on the disabled list midway through the season. Earlier this offseason, the Jays picked up Barajas’ $2.5 million club option to bring him back in 2009.
The 37-year-old Zaun, who made $3.75 million last year, finished the 2008 season hitting .237 with six homers and 30 RBIs in 245 at-bats — the fewest trips to the plate in his five-year tour with Toronto. Zaun and Ricciardi ruled out a return to Toronto and the catcher said he hopes to land a backup job with a contender or a regular role on a team with a young pitching staff.
“That would be a fun job for me,” Zaun said. “It’s what I did when I started with the Blue Jays. I was a part of the maturing process of all those young pitchers.”