FAXING FENWAY: Who would you get for Salty in a trade?

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Back here on Earth the Sox signed switch-hitting catcher Jerrod “Salty” Saltalamacchia to a 1-year deal for $4.5 million, so potential trade partners will know the price of salt and can weigh its worth in a trade.

GM Cherington is reviewing his options, so let’s generate trade options for him and send a fax to Fenway; pause, if you are one of those rabid fans from the “Shitty of Baw-stun” * who call sports talk shows and says:  “Maybe we could trade him for Justin Upton!” go shopping for more fan gear. [*Kevin White, former Mayor, City of Boston.]

If you are a MLB GM this is how you see the used car called a 2007 Saltalmacchia:


PROS:  Switch-hitting catcher with flashes of power.  A borderline every day starter, but a very good #2 catcher, who can pinch-hit or even DH. Needs work on defensive skills, but does throw out runners 32% of the time.

“His power is fantastic. He posted a .232 ISO in 2012 after finishing with a .213 mark the year before. His incredibly high strikeout rate and subsequent low contact rates will keep him further down in the order, so his runs and RBI will likely be comparable with most guys hitting out of the seven-hole. However, given the fact that few catchers are really batting higher than fifth, he continues to stand on the good side of catcher production, comparatively speaking.”


CONS:  His “game management” and pitch-calling skills do not inspire confidence in pitchers.  A rally killer with his HR or K tendency.

“The biggest hang-up that people have with Salty is the batting average and on-base percentage. Again, the weak contact rates are a big part of that and until he can reduce the number of strikeouts, even the most delicious of BABIP help isn’t going to bring that mark up to respectability. However, his increased walk rate this year, a mark that was actually better than league average, does give a shred of hope that his OBP can find its way north of .300. Consistency and a more selective batting eye will be paramount and there was a time in his career (2008) when all of that came together, so if he can just relax himself at the plate and not swing wildly at almost half of what comes at him, then he stands a chance to improve. Until he does though, the weak rate stats will always diminish the effectiveness of what his power can do for your team.”


Assuming that the Sox might be in the market for a 2014 First-baseman with two working hips or a diamond in the rough starter or reliever, let’s see which teams think they need a #2 catcher.


“Seattle would still like to add veteran depth at catcher in support of Jesus Montero.”

Read more at http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/pagetwo.html#3GKTLPYJ95uTRU8v.99

Moreover, a contending team cannot succeed with Jesus “another passed ball” Montero attempting to stab and grab speeding baseballs; he can’t “frame” close pitches and he tosses out runners just 17% of the time.  Montero should be, at best, a dire emergency #3 catcher and just wear his “Born To DH” t-shirt to work.


With Mike Morse, Kendrys Morales, Justin Smoak, and Mike Carp, Seattle has a logjam at Bag One.

Justin Smoak was on fire at South Carolina Univ. and the Texas Rangers took in the 1st round (11th pick) of the 2008 amateur draft.  He may be a AAAA aging prospect, who never made the adjustments to break into MLB, but some scouts say that he could make it if, when batting lefty, he can learn to keep his left hand on the bat to finish his swing.

He is a plus on defense and still has a high ceiling, but would be a major challenge for new and inexperienced Boston Hitting Coach, Greg Colbrunn.

Mike Carp he 26-year-old lefthanded hitter has 77 career starts at first base and 48 in left field. He has hit a fairly modest .241/.323/.398 against right-handers in his career. But Carp could provide some bench depth for the Sox at first base and a corner outfield spot.


Tom Wilhelmsen 29 SVs, 2.73, 1.13, K-BB 2.79


Both First basemen can bat left-handed [Smoak also a RHB] with Smoak a slightly better fielder.  Carp has a lower ceiling, but his floor has MLB wear and he has also played in the OF.

The Mariners might add well-aged reliever Tom Wilhemsen to the deal.


Although they already have a switch-hitting catcher with Wieters, whose power is finally arriving [23/83], Saltalmacchia would bring more offense to the plate than current #2 Taylor Teagarden [.211, 18/58 over five years], but does toss our 34% of baserunners. [Salty 31%; Weiters 33%].


1b Chris Davis and Peripatetic Prospect Wilson Betemit are not inspiring.


With Dylan Bundy kicking at the door, he Orioles are loaded with seven MLB starters and might be willing to deal #7, Jake Arrieta or #8 Zack Britton.  Their stat lines are similar, but Britton is a LHP and has a higher ceiling.  After a 10-8 record for the Orioles in 2011, Arrieta began to fizzle, while Britton is blossomed in 2012.


A 1-1 swap of Salty and Zack Britton would be a dead even deal


With this depth chart at catcher [Robinson Chirinos, Chris Gimenez, Jose Lobaton, Jose Molina, Stephen Vogt], Salty would be a big upgrade.


Like Baltimore, Tampa is loaded to their Ray gills with starters.

Tampa would love to unload#6 journeyman Roberto Hernandez or their #5, the oft-injured 6’ 9” Jeff Niemann; #4 Alex Cobb and #7 Chris Archer.


RHP Cobb [14-10] would likely require that the Sox add a prospect to the package; perhaps Stolmy Pimintel, while the Orioles would need to include a prospect [lefty hitter, 3b, Nick Delmonico with RHP Chris Archer [1-3].  Then there’s LHP Jake McGee, who is finding his command and has a heater that would make him a closer or set-up man.


The Sox are thin at catcher and hoping that Ty Flowers is [.201] ready to blossom and his backup, switch-hitting Hector Gimenez has only 11 games in MLB.



1B Dayan Viciedo

SP #5 J. Quintana  and #6 H. Santiago


The 24 year-old LHP Jose Quintana is worth a look, but Dayan Viciedo would provide a power prospect, who started at 3b, moved to OF and is now learning 1b.


Although Alex Avila is developing into an All-Star catcher, he has only 390 ML games under his chest protector and #2 Brayan Pena [335 ML games] and #3 Bryan Holaday [6 ML games].  A veteran switch-hitting catcher is a perfect fit.


The Tigers have been trying to move their #5 [RHP] Rick Porcello and would also be willing to trade their #6 [LHP] Drew Smyly.  Porcello went 14-9 in 2011, but has fallen out of favor in Detroit; Smyly was 4-3 last season.


Sox might need to add two prospects for Porcello and one for Smyly.


With John Buck starting [.235] and a Recker [Anthony] following him with just 66 MLB Abs, the Mets could use a switch-hitting seasoned catcher.


1b Ike Davis [26] R/R

2012: .227/.308/.462/.771, 32 HR, 90 RBI, 1.6 WAR

Career: .252/.336/.461/.797

The Mets have apparently decided that Lucas “Doo Da” Duda is their future First baseman.

Davis had a Jekyll and Hyde season in 2012; his first 70 games were a disaster at the plate and some say the reason was too much tinkering and alteration with his unorthodox batting stance; in Act Two, the remaining 92 games,  he turned into Albert Pujols, blasting 26 of his 32 homers.  His defense ranges from average to above.

In his limited time in the big leagues, he’s shown good patience at the plate and thus the potential to become an above-average offensive first baseman. He was a plus defender in 2010 at first before being slightly below average in 2012. Davis turns 26 in March, and he would be under team control through 2016.

He shows generally good patience at the plate, but struggles against LHPs with a .216 BA; he hits .266 vs. RHPs and has a career BA of .252, but he projects for 28 HRs and 89 RBIs for a full season [http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/d/davisik02.shtml] He could platoon with Mauro Gomez or Jerry Sands.

Also, his contract is locked in at $507,000 annually until 2017: Earliest Arb Eligible: 2013, Earliest Free Agent: 2017.  If he can hit as well as forecast, he would be an extraordinary bargain.

The son of relief pitcher Ron Davis and a product of the excellent program at ASU, he was drafted by the New York Mets in the 1st round (18th pick) of the 2008 amateur draft.


ANALYSIS:  Davis would be a roll of the dice, yet, he is a plus on defense and still has a high ceiling, but would be a major challenge for new and inexperienced Boston Hitting Coach, Greg Colbrunn.


Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz has been suspended 25 games for using an amphetamine [second offense] and his suspension begins at the beginning of the 2013 season, which leave the Phillies with #2 catcher  Erik Floyd Kratz, .227 in 81 MLB Abs.  If the Phils are serious about contending, they need Salty to fill in those first 25 games and then be a solid back-up to the “3 strikes” candidate Ruiz.


1b Darin Ruf led the Minor leagues in HRs in 2012 [38]; from Fangraphs:

Player Team Age PA xHR% xBB% xK% SCOUT+
Darin Ruf Phillies (AA) 25 583 6.5% 11.1% 17.5% 166


Baseball America’s Jim Callis says:

He’s 25, which is old for Double-A, but he has hit 37 homers and controls the strike zone…”


He’s 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds and packed with plenty of strength; though scouts aren’t sure how his uppercut swing will play in the majors. He draws walks and makes reasonable contact, but he’ll have to continue mashing to carve out a role at the top level.”


RotoProfessor says: “The power is nice, but he also brings a solid eye to the plate. At Double-A this season he posted a 17.5% strikeout rate and an 11.1% walk rate (nearly matching his marks of 17.3% and 10.4% from Single-A the year before).”



There may be a diamond in this Ruf; at 25, he is a seasoned minor leaguer and built like a brick phone booth, which will limit him to 1b.  He bats righty and his power might play well in Fenway.  Phils may toss in 6’ 7” 260-lb power reliever Phillipe Aumont.

So, dear reader, what trade would you devise for Ben Cherrington…and fax to Fenway?









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