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Sources: Saltalamacchia unlikely to return

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  December 2, 2013 11:19 PM

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Two major league sources said Monday night that catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia is unlikely to return to the Red Sox.

Saltalamacchia is the top catcher remaining on the free-agent market and is expected to command at least a three-year contract. The Red Sox have held at two years and are prepared to move on.

The Miami Marlins and Minnesota Twins have been negotiating with Saltalamacchia. He is a native of West Palm Beach and could find the Marlins attractive. The Twins are seeking a catcher after shifting Joe Mauer to first base.

Saltalamacchia hit .273 with an .804 OPS for Sox last season. His 54 extra-base hits were the most for a catcher in the American League.

But after serving as the primary catcher for much of the regular season, Saltalamacchia lost playing time to David Ross in the postseason. Ross started the final three games of the World Series. Saltalamacchia was angry with the demotion and that helped spur his willingness to look elsewhere.

Ross, who turns 37 in March, is signed through next season. The Red Sox also have Ryan Lavarnway, who started 18 games last season. If the Sox look outside the organization, free agent A.J. Pierzynski is an option. Or they could make a trade.

The Sox have great faith in the ability of 23-year-old Christian Vazquez. But he has played only briefly in Triple A and would likely need more seasoning before bring ready for the majors.

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