Zaun Finds New Nest; Signs With Orioles

Dino MoriAnalyst IJanuary 16, 2009

A member of the Blue Jays catching fraternity flew the coop today.

Gregg Zaun has reached agreement on a one-year contract, pending a physical, with the Baltimore Orioles on Friday.

Zaun spent five years with the Blue Jays, following stints in Colorado, Houston, Kansas City, Texas and Florida.  He began his major league career with the Orioles back in 1995 after being drafted by them in the 17th round of the 1989 amateur draft. 

Zaun will take over the catching duties left vacated by Ramon Hernandez, who was traded along with some cash to the Cincinnati Reds for utility infielder Ryan Freel and a couple of prospects.

Last season, Zaun batted .237 with six homers and 30 runs batted in for Toronto.  The 37-year old enjoyed his most productive season in the big leagues with the Blue Jays  back in 1995, when he batted .251, hit 11 HR's to go along with 61 RBI's in 434 at-bats.

With Zaun gone, the Blue Jays are expected to platoon Rod Barajas and Curtis Thigpen behind the plate.  Barajas hit 11 homers and drove in 49 in 349 plate appearances last season, while Thigpen played in only 10 games for Toronto spending the majority of 2008 in AAA Syracuse.  Thigpen had a homer and one RBI in 17 at-bats with the Blue Jays.