September 17, 2012; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia (39) on deck to bat against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

The Red Sox Should Shop Jarrod Saltalamacchia This Offseason

Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s 2012 season was shockingly similar to the Red Sox’ season as a whole. He started off decent with plenty of hope, but gradually fizzled during the grind of late summer before simply falling apart in late August and September as he started losing playing time to Ryan Lavarnway. This offseason, the Red Sox need to make a decision on their inconsistent starting catcher. Will they stick with Saltalamacchia, who only batted .222 with 25 home runs and bad defense, or trade him while he still has some value. My opinion is that they should trade him and explore stopgap solutions on the free agent market. Teams that could be interested in taking on Saltalamacchia, who is a free agent after 2013, could include the Angels, Marlins, and Mets.

Trade Option 1.  The Red Sox could attempt to flip Salty for Angels’ prospect Nick Maronde– a hard-throwing lefty who pitched to a 2.26 ERA across three levels of the minors last year, as well as a 1.50 ERA in 12 relief appearances at the big league level. A trade of Maronde and a major league utility man to replace Mike Aviles or start in place of Jose Iglesias would be a fair deal. Perhaps the Angels would be willing to part with Maicer Izturis, who can play three positions and .256/.320/.315 with 17 stolen bases in 2012. This would give the Red Sox a utility man and potential starting shortstop along with a potential left reliever or starting pitching prospect.

Trade Option 2. The Red Sox could also try and trade Salty to the Marlins for a similar prospect who could do well with a change of scenery. One guy that fits that profile is Marlins’ left fielder Logan Morrison, who after once being a top prospect, has been disappointing in Miami. After a promising start to his career when he batted .283/.390/.447 in 62 games as a rookie in 2010, he’s fallen. He only batted .230/.308/.399 with 11 home runs in 2012, but there’s still a lot to like about the 25 year old. He would fit into a hole in the outfield and could use his ample opposite field power off of the green monster in left, plus he’d strike out less than Salty.

Trade Option 3. It may be a bit of a stretch, but it wouldn’t hurt for the Red Sox to ask for Jon Niese in a trade with Saltalamacchia. Niese had an immensely successful 2012 season, pitching to a 13-9 record and 3.30 ERA and would fit nicely into the Red Sox rotation as a 25 year old power lefty. To acquire Niese, the Red Sox would probably have to add a kicker such as Craig Breslow or Rubby de la Rosa. However, considering how difficult it is to acquire quality starting pitching, I’d still make a trade with either of those players.

However, the problem with all of these trades is that they would open a hole at the catcher position. Ryan Lavarnway is certainly not ready to take on a full time role after batting just .157/.211/.258 in 42 games, so the Red Sox would need to explore the free agent market. A few names that jump out at me are Brian McCann (whose $12 million option may not be picked up after a disappointing .230/.300/.399 seas0n), David Ross (.256/.321/.449), Russell Martin (.211/.311/.403), and Mike Napoli (.227/.343/.469).

If the Red Sox were to trade Saltalamacchia and Breslow to the Mets in return for Niese, as well as signing Brian McCann to an incentive laden one year deal, they’re a better team in my book. McCann is a much more consistent performer than Salty over their respective careers and also is a better defensive catcher. Meanwhile, Niese would fit nicely as a #3 starter behind Buchholz and Lester in the Red Sox rotation. This would leave Lavarnway room to develop behind a very good catcher and fill out a weak Red Sox rotation. Good times.

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Tags: Boston Red Sox Jarrod Saltalamacchia

  • John Fahrer

    Scenarios one and three are both big reaches. Pretty skeptical that Morrison would rebound in Boston. There’s a bigger target the Sox should pursue for LF in Alex Gordon. Ditto the starting pitching department (we need a one, not a three and maybe Seattle will finally look into dealing Hernandez).

    Pittsburgh’s another potential suitor. They could use another power bat. And a SS too. Maybe Salty and Iglesias for SP prospects Luis Heredia and Nick Kingham. Both are relatively raw, but are highly ranked according to their team website. Plus the Bucs have two pitchers on the cusp of breaking into the bigs so they might be willing to trade those guys for immediate impact help. Plus it’d be nice to acquire more chips to use in other trades.

    • John Sowers

      absolutely agree with trading for Gordon. gold-glove caliber D – he is an OBP guy, cannon arm. can play LF or 1B, best of all he is locked up for a few years in an affordable contract. Annibel Sanchez (sign) + Alex Gordon (trade) would be my top targets.

      • Conor Duffy

        Gordon would also take many more top notch prospects to get though.

        • Steve Peterson

          Available free agent catchers:

          Rod Barajas, PIT
          Henry Blanco, ARI
          Koyie Hill, TEX
          Gerald Laird, DET
          Russell Martin, NYY
          Brian McCann, ATL
          Jose Molina, TB
          Mike Napoli, TEX
          Wil Nieves, ARI
          Miguel Olivo, SEA
          Ronny Paulino, BAL
          A.J. Pierzynski, CWS
          Humberto Quintero, MIL
          David Ross, ATL
          Carlos Ruiz, PHI
          Brian Schneider, PHI
          Kelly Shoppach, NYM
          Chris Snyder, HOU
          Yorvit Torrealba, MIL
          Matt Treanor, MIL

          • Steve Peterson

            Oh and I almost forgot. Lavarnway was wretched down the stretch as well. .157 BA. Ugly.

          • John Fahrer

            True. But Pedroia wasn’t exactly looking like a centerpiece in his late season cameo in 06 either. He turned things around and Lavarnway will likely do the same.

          • John Fahrer

            Probably sign the most defensively gifted non-backup of the bunch. Or the guy with the best OBP.

        • John Fahrer

          Pitching wise. Say we pulled off an Ellsbury, Morales, Breslow for Holland, Andrus, and Olt deal with the Rangers and acquire Kingham and Heredia from the Pirates.

          We could then send Holland, Brandon Workman or Drake Britton, and one of Heredia or Kingham, and Ryan Kalish to KC for Gordon. The Royals are really in need of pitching above all else. And Gordon’s emerged nicely the last couple of years, but realistically he’s not worth what Seattle would want for King Felix.

      • John Fahrer

        I like Sanchez too. But an ace he is not. If we deal current rotation occupants and an extra vacancy emerges, he’d be a good pickup. Otherwise do what you can to get Felix or sign Peavy or Haren to an incentive-laden one-year deal. The latter could very likely be wanting to reestablish his market value.

      • John Fahrer

        Very sentimental to me to see Gordon manning LF for the Red Sox. I’m a Nebraskan and followed his college career. He won’t be able to wear 4 since it’s retired at Fenway. Would love to see him wear 18 though.

  • Michael


  • redcore

    No crap he cooled off when they played Ryan half the time. I hate the part time catcher gimmick, like you’re going to get only the best out of each. They’re creatures of habit and are comfortable with consistency.

    Every frickin’ time anybody plays well for us for a year, we ship them out. Marco Scutaro was always consistant – look at what he’s done with the Giants (who are about to win the WS). Reddick played awesome defense for us and batted well (even though they wouldn’t commit to playing him) – now look at what he did for Oakland when given the opportunity. Mike Aviles had a good year, we shipped him off too. The Red Sox get rid of anybody that works their tail off and produces because they’re always looking to land the next $100m superstar that half the time busts. Look at what that has done to our pitching rotation with Dice K and [S]Lackey. I’ve been reading we need to shop Ellsbury too. Are we just the Oakland A’s now? Are we just going to grow prospects and dump them off for more prospects when they produce? Or maybe we should just sign A-Rod for the entire team budget and just stand him out in center field at this point. Why bother. I miss The Idiots :(

    • Conor Duffy

      Even before Lavarnway was there, Saltalamacchia was extremely inconsistent and bad defensively. Scutaro was traded to clear up salary space and Reddick, who nobody could’ve predicted to break out like he did, was traded for what we thought to be a need at the time, a closer. Aviles didn’t have a terrible year, but he’s nothing special and Iglesias has a much higher ceiling. The Red Sox are building their team for the next wave of prospects who will arrive in the next 1-3 years and make this team a dynasty again.

      • John Fahrer

        Iglesias has a higher ceiling with the glove. With the bat his ceiling looks like he’ll be Aviles minus the power. Personally hoping we can pry Andrus away and ship Iglesias and Salty (and their sub .300 OBPs) to Pittsburgh for those two pitching prospects I previously mentioned.

        Andrus could replace Ells in the leadoff spot and man the position until Deven Marrero is ready. Bogaerts will more than likely switch to third or left field.

    • John Fahrer

      I’d shop Ellsbury right now. The guy’s had one awesome season, two good seasons, and two injury-plagued seasons. His successor is a guy we drafted in 2011 who’s climbed the ladder fast (just like Pedey and Ellsbury did) in Jackie Bradley. If Texas were to offer us Holland, Andrus, and 3B prospect (and New Haven, CT native) Mike Olt for Ellsbury, Franklin Morales, and Craig Breslow, Cherington would be crazy not to pull the trigger. We could use Andrus at SS, trade Holland for Gordon, and package Olt OR Middlebrooks for King Felix.

  • Scott Davis

    Why on Earth would the Angels trade for this guy when they have Iannetta starting, and Conger as back up? Maronde has too much of an upside to consider trading him at all, and Izturis is a free agent today. Pay attention before you write!

    • Conor Duffy

      Salty is better than both of them, and the Angels got some of the worst catching production offensively last year along with disappointing pitching from a seemingly excellent staff. Izturis is expected to be picked up by the Angels.