In response to moonslav59's comment:
In response to SonicsMonksLyresVicars' comment:
lava lava lava. i don't see them giving up on salty after the work we've put in to him. he is really coming into his own also. If salty continues to improve then lava will be made a 1Bman or get traded. pretty exciting stuff
Salty is a FA after this year. I guess we could re-sign him after the year if he does well this year, but his cost will be very high.
if he plays well then why not? we know he can play in boston and lots of people like him here. it owuld be better than letting him go and have a slew of Catchers in and out of boston for years.
I'm not against it, in fact I have turned a 180 on Salty since April of 2012. I actually think we should extend Salty now at a hopefully discount rate (becuase I expect further improvment this year) and trade Lava now that Papi is the DH (Lava's best spot) for 2 years.
That's the key with a Salty-like player i.e. skilled, but with holes plus upside. I would try to sign him now and hope he continues to improve. There are so few good catchers around - ever - that you sometimes have to take a risk. It is virtually guaranteed that D Ross will be gone after 2014, and by no means certain that Lava will approach even Salty's current level....then some catchers e.g. Swihart years away.
For the Nth time (to some), Grandpa Salty is 2 and bit years older than Babyface Lava....and still young for a catcher and still developing.
We should also remember that VTek led the league in PBs at ages 27 and 28 and he had some low OPS at about Salty's current age (.730 at age 28 and .724 at age 30).
I'm not saying Salty will ever get to be as good as VTek behind the plate, but some catchers have late learning curves.
Moon & Sonic,
Overall I agree with most of whats been discussed. I will add that passed ball stats have to be taken in context with both. Who had the job of catching Wakefield, Varitek did catch him quite a bit early in his career and Salty did in 2011. As Bob Uecker would say "the best method for catching a knuckleballer, is to wait for the ball to stop rolling then go pick it up".
As hitters the biggest difference I see is that Varitek walked more often and Salty has more raw power. I also don't think that given the workload that switch hitting did or does either of them any favors late in the year when statistically both struggle to square up the ball.
Defensively, both are big dudes and their greatest issue behind the plate and why Lavarnway is still a prospects is due to footwork and the time it takes for them to recieve and release the ball trying to control the oppositions running game. Salty has a cannon, but doesn't have "quick feet"...Varitek had neither. Which places a greater emphesis on the pitchers to hold the ball or be quicker to home. Yadier Molina is in the HOF catergory of catchers specific to this skill. Russel Martin was also adept at this due to both of them being athletic catchers. Which is why both are also at the top of the food chain controlling the run game..both have great arms, Salty's arm is in the same catergory, what he lacks that they both possess is quick feet. Which allows them to recieve and release the ball in under 2 seconds. If we take calling a good game out of the equasion. I'm not trying to minimize it's importance, but its more of an intangable vs a tangable skill. Varitek was a master at framing pitches and area where Salty has shown improvement. Agian it's footwork and learning how to shift your feet while staying in the crouch and giving the pitcher a good target. The way Vartiek set up as the pitch is being delivered plays a huge role in helping the pitcher to hit his location and aides in the catchers ability to keep his glove in postion to properly recieve the ball and stick the pitch on balls that are on the black (especially the low strike)...A tangable that Salty still has work to do...Lastly and perhaps the most overlooked tangable is blocking balls in the dirt, again it's related to footwork and athleticism. Salty stats improved largely due to not having to catch wake...I doubt he's ever in the class of Yadier Molina but is adept enough that as his footwork and set up behind the plate improves, his ability to keep the ball in front of him will also improve.
Overall Saltalamaccia is based on the norm an above average catcher...He's not however in the class of Posey or Mauer with the stick and will likely never be in the class of Yadier with the glove...So while I too think they should "sign him"...I also think they should continue to look for and keep thier options open to aquire an impact player at the position...