Jarrod Saltalamacchia originally thought he hit his 15th homer in the third inning Friday against the Orioles. When the call was correctly overturned and ruled a double instead, he accomplished a much more interesting feat.
Saltalamacchia became just the 15th catcher (13th different) to put together a 40-double season since 1901. The other active catchers to pull it off are Victor Martinez, Joe Mauer, Brian McCann and Yadier Molina. Jorge Posada and Ivan Rodriguez both did it twice.
Never much of a doubles guy previously, Salty actually had 40 two-baggers (and 41 homers) between 2011 and 2012 combined. He averaged one double every 19.5 at-bats in the first six seasons of his career. This year, he’s at one every 10.5 at-bats. It should be noted that he’s playing in a terrific park for doubles in Fenway, but a mere 21 of those 40 doubles have come at home.
Salty will finish this season with career highs in average, runs scored and RBI as he heads into free agency for the first time. He’s upped his stock enough that the Red Sox will probably make him an approx. $14 million qualifying offer this winter, securing them a draft pick if he leaves. A three-year deal in the $30 million-$36 million range seems appropriate.
Diamondbacks’ right-hander Tyler Jones is headed back to the Yankees, the teams announced on Friday. The Diamondbacks had previously selected Jones in the Rule 5 draft last December, but elected to leave the 27-year-old off of their 40-man roster heading into the 2017 season. Rule 5 draft rules stipulate that when a player is not kept on the receiving team’s roster, the player must be offered back to his original team.
Jones signed a minor league contract with the Yankees prior to the 2016 season. He pitched to an impressive 2.17 ERA, 2.2 BB/9 and 13.2 SO/9 over 45 2/3 innings with Double-A Trenton, but was unable to make the leap to Triple-A or beyond during his stay with the organization.
Jones’ outlook with the Diamondbacks appeared slightly more promising. GM Mike Hazen described the righty as a power arm with a “good fastball and power curveball” after selecting him in the Rule 5 draft, and early reports indicated that Jones would be in the mix for a bullpen spot. A rough spring performance — underscored by his lack of experience at the Triple-A and major league levels — undid most of that confidence, however, and the Diamondbacks weren’t willing to keep him on the active roster throughout the entire 2017 season in order to acquire his control rights.
Jones is set to open the season with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, per a report from the Yankees.
Yahoo Sports’ Tim Brown reports that Derek Norris is signing with the Tampa Bay Rays.
Norris was released by the Nationals nine days ago, made redundant by the Nats’ signing of Matt Wieters and by everyone sliding down a notch on the depth chart below him. Norris hit only .186/.255/.328 with 14 home runs and a .528 OPS for the Padres in 2016.
Still, there always seems to be a place for a backup catcher. For Norris that place is Tampa Bay.