It is going to be a tight run to the finish line for 2012 Red Sox catchers Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ryan Lavarnway. Both catchers should fear that they may lose their jobs. There are currently some experienced catchers on the free agent “flea market” and it may be in the Red Sox’ best interest to get some new names in the lineup and fill some of the holes that were made by management last season.
Both Saltalamacchia, 27, and Lavarnway, 25, put up some decent numbers last season. During the 2012 season, Saltalamacchia played in 121 games, carried a .222 average, and collected 90 hits. Lavarnway only played 46 games, and ended the season with a .154 average. According to the scouting reports found on The Baseball Cube, in the spots Saltalamacchia is weak, Lavarnway is solid and vice versa. For instance, Lavarnway was given a score of 61 (out of 100) when being judged in the “Contact” department, whereas Salty was only given a 23.
The Red Sox could also sign a free agent catcher, as there are a few experienced ones out on the market. The first option would be Mike Napoli, a former Texas Ranger. In 2012, he played in 108 games and carried a batting average of .227, better than the numbers posted by both of the Red Sox catchers. The 31-year-old has experience, and his stats over the past few seasons prove that he is constant. His batting average usually rests between .250 and .300. Should the Sox decide to sign Napoli, throwing tons of money his way would not be ideal. There are other options out there.
Another choice for the Sox would be to sign the 29-year-old former Bronx Bomber Russell Martin. He played a key role at the bottom of the Yankee’s lineup, and he has the potential to do the same for the Sox. The Bleacher Report comments that Martin “would be a good addition to virtually any team.”
Either way, the Sox are set in the catching department. They can stick with Saltalamacchia and Lavarnway and be fine. If a problem were to arise, they can easily experiment with some free agents or prospects making their way through the minor league system.