In response to craze4sox's comment:
In response to slomag's comment:
When Varitek couldn't hit his own weight, and could barely get the ball to second base, everybody still wanted him in the game because of how he handled the staff. Now we have a catcher who strikes out a lot but led the team in HRs last year, and our staff is getting the best results many of us have ever seen, and we're complaining about a low batting average and inaccurate throwing arm.
slomag, think about what you are saying for a second. The reasons you mentioned above were what put Tek in the back up role, even with the game calling skills 'which take years" to develop because his results were fading. Salty doesn't do anything as good as Tek at this point except in OPS and CS. Even in Teks last few years he still put up a high OPS and got on base more than Salty can after three years as starter.
To say Salty's game calling skills have turned our staff around makes little sense. The issue with guys like "Lester and Clay" was simply health and mechanics, Lackey may also be thrown into that category if he does better this season. Salty has never had this kind of success with any of them in the past and an average catcher can't impact a staff like this in a few months. With Dempster? Salty never even caught the guy until this season and Doub is the same guy we saw last season.
Neives, Farrell and good health is what has turned a couple guys around. Salty's only contribution here is blocking more balls, positioning himself and trying to be more of a leader/support to our staff when they struggle, or in other words a few more trips to the mound. I was a catcher for many years and can tell exactly what Salty does and can't do well, or how he has improved over the past two seasons. This is the main reason I critique him so much, not because I dislike him.
Ask any pitcher who has ever pitched in MLB if a catcher makes a significant difference.
Salty was not great with the staff in 2011 and at the very start of 2012, but improved greatly last year after about 4/25/12. Throw out the stats and just look at the games in 2011 vs 2013.
Nobody is saying Salty has everything to do with the staff turn around, but to deny he has anything to do with it is naive. To me, he has a significant role in the reversal- maybe not as big as the coaching change, but the turn around is so grand that there's room for several people to get credit here.
Youm mention Lester and Buch's "mechanics", are you so sure Salty had nothing to do with any adjustments they made- both before the season started, during the season, and during each game?
Catchers have a huge influence on what pitch is called, the location, the framing of the pitch, the blocking of bad pitches, and more. It is undeniable that Salty has improved- the only question is how much and will it continue.