With the GM meetings all wrapped up in Florida, the hot stove continues to burn with plenty of buzz surrounding the Boston Red Sox. While the outfield options continue to provide plenty of rumors and speculation, so too does the catcher position.
It’s arguably one of the biggest needs for the Red Sox this off-season with both David Ross and Ryan Lavarnway unable to field the number one job. There are attractive options on the open-market this winter, some that come with a heftier price tag than others.
We know the Red Sox are exploring all possible angles to secure a number one catcher behind the dish next season, so let’s get caught up with the latest rumblings on who is in their sights.
Starting off with the most familiar of names associated with the Red Sox, it’s been reported by Jon Heyman that the club has offered Salty a two-year deal worth under $10 million a year. Not bad for the switch-hitting backstop but it doesn’t sound as though it will be enough to get the deal done.
Heyman reports that Saltalamacchia is seeking a three or four-year deal with an average of around $9 million. The Chicago White Sox are one team that the guys at MLBTR believe will pursue Salty with an offer of 4-years, $36 million.
The same principal could apply with Boston and Brian McCann who is arguably the best catcher on the market this offseason. He provides power from the left side, calls an adequate game and is strong defensively, all at just 29-years of age. But his price is set at a five-year deal and some media members believe he’ll seek and obtain close to the $100 million dollar range.
McCann would bring more to the position than Saltalamacchia but after watching what paralyzing effects massive contracts can do to an organization first hand, Ben Cherington could be hesitant to go that far. Not to mention McCann is tied to a draft pick should he leave the Braves and sign elsewhere.
Heyma reports that the Red Sox are continuing dialogue with the McCann party, along with other free-agent catchers.
Those other options that Cherington is said to be talking to include Carlos Ruiz, who has spent the past eight seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies.
Earlier this week Connor noted that the Red Sox were expected to be major players in the Ruiz sweepstakes with reports coming out that the catcher had a two-year offer on the table, believed to be for $20 million. Speculation arose that the Red Sox were the mystery team after hearing that the highly interested Colorado Rockies were going to explore other alternatives after their offer of two-years at $15 million wasn’t going to be considered. Ruiz is said to be open to a two-year deal providing the guaranteed money is there.
Finally, Pierzynski’s name is still being tied to the Red Sox writes Heyman as another alternative, albeit it’s unclear on how crazy Cherington is over the former White Sox catcher.
It’s been documented that Pierzynski has created a riff with teammates in the past and isn’t considered to be well liked around the league. Coming off a one-year deal with the Texas Rangers, the Phillies are said to be highly attracted to Pierzynski, if they can’t retain Ruiz. A one-year deal worth $8 to $9 million might be enough to land the 37-year old but given the baggage that is said to come with him, let’s hope that Cherington is merely doing his due diligence.