Had a chance to speak to Jarrod Saltalamacchia earlier tonight and as you can imagine, today’s news was quite exciting for him.
“This is the opportunity I’ve been waiting for,” he said. “I’m glad Victor got what he wanted, but now I need to run with this.”
Saltalamacchia has not spoken to anybody from the Red Sox about next season. But he has followed the developments closely.
“Nothing is set in stone but it looks like I could have an opportunity to earn a spot in the lineup,” he said. “Obviously it makes me feel great that the organization has confidence in me.”
Salty had surgery on his left thumb in October to repair a torn ligament. He has already started throwing and been cleared to swing a bat. He has been in touch with catching instructor Gay Tuck and the two will start workouts after Thanksgiving.
He also is hoping that Jason Varitek will be back.
“That would benefit everybody,” he said. “In the two months I was in Boston, I saw how much trust and respect the pitchers had with ‘Tek. That’s the guy I want to learn from. If I’m with him, I know I’ll be getting all the right information. His presence in the clubhouse is huge.”
Saltalamacchia has navigated a twisting path. A first-round pick by the Braves in 2003, he was traded to the Rangers in 2007. He was the Opening Day starter for Texas in 2009 and 2010 only to fall out of favor and get traded to the Red Sox.
Now, at age 25, he could have a chance to fulfill all the potential that so far has been wasted.
“I’ve come a long way but I’ve learned a lot and I know I can run a pitching staff,” he said. “It’s exciting to think I could get a chance.”
As Salty said, nothing is set in stone. The Sox could make a trade for a catcher. But as of right now, the Sox are going to see what Saltalamacchia can give them. This is one of those decisions that could be a bust or a bonanza.
Meanwhile reports out of Detroit indicate that the Tigers see Victor Martinez as their primary DH and backup catcher to Alex Aviles.
An average of $12.5 million a year is a lot to spend on a DH and part-time catcher. As a catcher, V-Mart is an elite offensive player. That is not really the case as a DH.
You also may find this interesting:
Red Sox pitchers had a 4.28 ERA with Martinez behind the plate and opposing hitters a .738 OPS. With other catchers, Sox pitchers had a 4.05 ERA and opponents a .706 OPS.
The Red Sox wanted Martinez back and made a solid offer to have him be their catcher. But in the end, they were not going to outbid the Tigers given their concerns about his defense.
Right now, what he gives you offensively outweighs what he costs you defensively. But that gap could close as Martinez gets older.
Texas won the AL pennant with Bengie Molina catching and dragging a .599 OPS to the plate. There are 100 ways to put together a winning team