Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) - The Pittsburgh Pirates officially exercised the 2013 contract option for third baseman Pedro Alvarez on Wednesday, while declining one on catcher Rod Barajas for next season.
The decision on Alvarez was expected after the No. 2 overall pick of the 2008 draft established career highs with 30 home runs and 85 runs batted in while batting .244 over 149 games.
As part of the major league contract the 25-year-old signed when entering the pros, Alvarez will receive $700,000 this coming season. The Pirates also have a $700,000 option for the 2014 campaign, though the club will still control his rights even if it declines.
Barajas signed with the Bucs prior to last season, but hit just .206 with 11 homers and 31 RBI over 104 games. The 37-year-old would have made $3.5 million in 2013 had the Pirates picked up the option.
Pittsburgh also formally released left-hander pitcher Hisanori Takahashi on Wednesday. The Japanese native, who was set to become a free agent anyway, posted an 8.44 earned run average in nine games after being claimed off waivers from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in August.