The Red Sox probably didn’t drop $6.2 million on backup catcher David Ross without knowing they could trade Jarrod Saltalamacchia or Ryan Lavarnway.
So let’s try and figure out who the deal will be with.
There are a bunch of teams that could use a catcher but seven stand out: the Cubs, Mariners, Mets, Pirates, Rays, White Sox, and Yankees.
The Sox are unlikely to make a trade with the Rays and Yankees, so let’s cross them them off the list.
A few other things to keep in mind:
• Saltalamacchia will be a free agent after 2013, which depresses his value. He also had a .288 on-base percentage last season along with those 25 home runs.
• Lavarnway has more upside because of his bat. He did not hit well at all in 46 games last season (.157/.211/.248) but is a career .286/.376/.506 hitter in the minors. He’s going to hit in the majors.
Lavarnway also caught 80 games for Pawtucket before he was called up, by far his most in a season. Red Sox officials feel he was a little worn down.
• Lavarnway caught most of the games in September, which could be a sign the Sox favor him moving forward and would be more willing to trade Saltalamacchia.
• The trade could — and probably would — involve several players. Saltalamacchia and a prospect or two would bring back more than just Saltalamacchia. The Sox could stand to clear some room off their 40-man roster.
So here are some possible fits . . .
Cubs: President of baseball operations Theo Epstein traded for Saltalamacchia in 2010 when he was the general manager of the Red Sox and has long been a fan. The Cubs tried to trade righthander Matt Garza in July. Salty could be part of a package that brings Garza back. He would be a good fit as the No. 3 starter.
Mariners: Forget King Felix, that’s not going to happen. But LHP Jason Vargas is coming off a good season. The Mariners also have some intriguing pitching prospects.
Mets: This team makes a lot of sense as a trade partner. The Mets could be willing to move first baseman Ike Davis. They also have some pitchers who could interest the Sox. There is trade speculation involving R.A. Dickey and GM Sandy Alderson raised the possibility of dealing LHP Jon Niese just a few days ago.
Pirates: There is no one player who jumps out at you on the Pittsburgh roster. Maybe RHP James McDonald?
White Sox: There are good fits here. Chicago has an extra starter and could trade RHP Gavin Floyd, who is a year away from free agency.
The guess here is that something will unfold fairly soon. What’s your take?