Red Sox and Jarrod Saltalamacchia avoid arbitration for $2.5 million

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Jarrod Saltalamacchia and the Red Sox have avoided arbitration prior to tomorrow’s deadline for submitting figures, agreeing to a one-year deal worth $2.5 million.

Saltalamacchia, who earned $750,000 last season in his first year of arbitration eligibility, is in line for a bigger role with the Red Sox following the departure of Jason Varitek.

His new backup, Kelly Shoppach, is ideally suited to face strictly left-handed pitching, so a platoon situation makes sense given that the switch-hitting Saltalamacchia has been much better versus righties than lefties.

In that scenario Saltalamacchia would be in line for at least two-thirds of the starts behind the plate after starting 96 times at catcher last season. He’ll be a free agent following the 2013 season, so if Saltalamacchia thrives as the primary starter the Red Sox could look to sign him to a multi-year deal.

Josh Donaldson is still seeking a long-term deal with the Blue Jays

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If it were up to him, Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson would finish the remainder of his career in Toronto. In fact, he’d be “ticked pink” if the club decided to sign him to a long-term deal. Whether the Blue Jays share that sentiment is still unclear, as Donaldson said Saturday that the team has yet to engage his agent in extension talks.

“I’ve said that I wanted to be here,” he told MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm. “That’s pretty much all I can say. I’m not the one who makes the decisions, nor would I try to put them in the position to do that. Like I said, I believe the situation will become more fluid when the time is right.”

That doesn’t necessarily mean an extension is out of the question. The Blue Jays reached an unprecedented one-year, $23 million agreement with the three-time All-Star in arbitration, and have been reticent to field trade offers despite continued interest from the Cardinals this winter.

Donaldson, 32, is poised to enter his eighth season in the majors and fourth with the Blue Jays. In 2017, he batted .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs and a .944 OPS in 496 plate appearances, ranking sixth among all major league third baseman with 5.0 fWAR. He’s scheduled to enter free agency following the 2018 season.