Released by the Marlins earlier this week, switch-hitting catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia has signed a minor-league contract with the Diamondbacks.
Arizona’s need for catching help has been apparent for a long time now and taking a low-risk flier on Saltamacchia makes sense. His defense has always been shaky and he hit poorly in one-plus season in Miami, but as recently as 2013 he was one of the better-hitting catchers in baseball for the Red Sox.
In fact, from 2011-2013 he hit .244 with a .763 OPS for the Red Sox, including 55 homers in 345 games. It wouldn’t take a whole lot for Saltalamacchia to be an upgrade over the Diamondbacks’ current catching situation and at age 30 he seems like a decent bounceback candidate.
Miami, which signed Saltalamacchia to a three-year, $21 million contract last season, ate about $15 million in salary by cutting him loose to turn the catcher position over to rookie J.T. Realmuto.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Pirates will sign reliever Felipe Rivero to a four-year contract extension that includes two club options. The total value of the deal is believed to be $22 million and each club option is worth $10 million.
Rivero, 26, did not come to an agreement with the Pirates to avoid arbitration in his first year of eligibility ahead of last Friday’s deadline. He requested a $2.9 million salary for the 2018 season while the Pirates countered at $2.4 million. This extension will cover all four years of Rivero’s arbitration eligibility and the two club options can cover his first two years of free agency as well.
Rivero was one of baseball’s best relievers last season, finishing with 21 saves, a 1.67 ERA, and an 88/20 K/BB ratio in 75 1/3 innings. The Pirates acquired him from the Nationals along with minor leaguer Taylor Hearn ahead of the 2016 non-waiver trade deadline in the Mark Melancon deal.
Presumably, Rivero’s extension was in the works before he knew anything about the Andrew McCutchen trade. He made a couple of tweets following this afternoon’s news. In one, he used only the “facepalm” emoji. The other was a .gif of The Office character Jim Halpert yelling, “What is going on?”