The Red Sox still have little idea what their catching situation will be next year, but they did secure one option on Thursday, agreeing to terms with Jarrod Saltalamacchia on a non-guaranteed $750,000 deal.
The contract will pay him $250,000 if he spends the season in the minors.
Despite collecting just 24 major league at-bats this season, Salty was eligible for arbitration for the first time. Since debuting with the Braves in 2007, he’s hit .248/.315/.386 with 23 homers in 813 major league at-bats. Unfortunately, his best year was his first season, when he hit 11 of those homers.
Given his spotty track record both offensively and defensively, Salty probably won’t be promised anything entering 2011. Like most arbitration contracts, this isn’t guaranteed, meaning the Red Sox could cut him next spring and pay him just one-sixth or one-quarter of the total amount, depending on the timing.
Oddly enough, Salty might actually have a better chance of making the team next year if the Red Sox downgrade from Victor Martinez at catcher. The team would probably prefer a strong defender as a backup if they’re able to retain the free agent.
On the other hand, the Red Sox could pursue someone like Gregg Zaun or Rod Barajas and give Salty an opportunity to win the job in spring training. That inexpensive solution would free up cash to re-sign Adrian Beltre and upgrade the outfield. It’d be a risk, but should Salty disappoint in Boston like he did in Texas, the team would have a veteran ready to step in and could trade for another veteran at the deadline.
Joe Longo, the agent of Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich, said his client’s relationship with the Marlins is “irretrievably broken,” ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports. He believes in the best interest of both Yelich and the Marlins to work out a trade before the start of spring training.
They have a plan. I respect that plan, but that plan shouldn’t include Christian at this point in his career. He’s in the middle of the best years of his career, and having him be part of a 100-loss season is not really where [we] want to see him going.
The relationship between player and team is irretrievably broken. It’s soured. He’s part of the old ownership regime. The new ownership regime needs to get new parts into this plan and move forward, and he needs to get on with his career where he’s got a chance to win. The big issue is him winning and winning now.
He loves the city of Miami. He loves the fans. He’s had nothing but a good experience in South Florida, and he feels sorry where they ended up. But I think having him report [to spring training] and attempting to include him moving forward is going to be uncomfortable for both sides. I don’t see how it’s going to work.
This certainly comes as no surprise considering the offseason the Marlins have had after installing new ownership, going from Jeffrey Loria to Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter. The club traded All-Star outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, who hit 59 home runs last season, as well as Dee Gordon and Marcell Ozuna. As Crasnick notes, Yelich isn’t the only player to express disappointment with the Marlins’ current direction — J.T. Realmuto and Starlin Castro have as well.
Yelich, 26, signed a seven-year, $49.57 million contract extension with the Marlins in March of 2015. Given his career performance, that’s a bargain of a contract, which is why more than a handful of teams have inquired with the Marlins about him this offseason. Yelich finished the past season with a .282/.369/.439 triple-slash line along with 18 home runs, 81 RBI, 100 runs scored, and 16 stolen bases in 695 plate appearances.