Tag: Rob Brantly

jarrod saltalamacchia getty

Marlins sign free agent catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia to three-year, $21 million contract


As first reported by Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun Sentinel, Miami has signed free agent catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia to a three-year, $21 million contract. The deal is only pending a physical.

Salty drew serious interest from the Twins, Rangers, Rockies and Blue Jays before settling Tuesday with the Fish. He’ll take over as Miami’s starting catcher in 2014, with Jeff Mathis likely acting as his primary backup. Rob Brantly was supposed to be the club’s long-term answer at the position, but the 24-year-old has hit just .235/.298/.325 with four homers and 26 RBI in his first 356 major league plate appearances.

Saltalamacchia, 28, batted .273/.338/.466 with 14 home runs and 65 RBI across 470 plate appearances this past season for the Red Sox. He is a .246/.310/.428 career hitter in 595 total major league games.

Does McCann to New York set up a Salty, Red Sox reunion?

Jarrod Saltalamacchia

It’s the catcher market that has moved the most quickly in free agency this winter, with Brian McCann becoming the first elite free agent to come to terms, agreeing to a five-year, $85 million deal with the Yankees on Saturday.

The other catcher deals:

Carlos Ruiz – Phillies (three years, $26 million)
Geovany Soto – Rangers (one year, $3.05 million)
Brayan Pena – Reds (two years, unknown salary)

The departures leave Jarrod Saltalamacchia as easily the No. 1 option left in free agency, with A.J. Pierzynski, Dioner Navarro, Kurt Suzuki, John Buck and Jose Molina next in line. The rumor Friday was that Molina was close to returning to the Rays, possibly on a two-year deal.

There are also two notable trade targets in Matt Wieters and Ryan Hanigan. Wieters doesn’t appear amenable to an extension with the Orioles in advance of hitting free agency in two years. Despite his disappointing offensive output to date, he’s still very highly thought of and would command a significant package. Hanigan would be a whole lot cheaper, and he’d be a solid option starting 80-90 games. He became expendable in Cincinnati with the Pena signing.

The suitors?

Boston: Might prefer a short-term fix with Christian Vazquez and 2011 first-round pick Blake Swihart on the way.

Toronto: Needs to upgrade from J.P. Arencibia.

Chicago White Sox: Neither Josh Phegley nor Tyler Flowers seems likely to become much of a regular.

Miami: Would like to find a cheap starter for a year to get Rob Brantly more seasoning.

Colorado: Made a run at Ruiz with the idea of shifting Wilin Rosario out from behind the plate.

Minnesota: Could use a veteran to pair with youngster Josmil Pinto.

Texas: The word was that the Rangers told Soto he’d be the starter to get him to sign quickly. Still, some are skeptical.

Seattle: A veteran capable of battling Mike Zunino for the job would be ideal, with Zunino returning to Triple-A if he doesn’t show he’s ready.

On the one hand, Saltalamacchia would seem to be sitting pretty as the only big-money catcher remaining. On the other, it doesn’t seem like any of those teams besides the Red Sox are in position to spend $10 million+ per year on a catcher, and the Red Sox already declined to give Salty a $14.1 million qualifying offer, which would seem to be put a cap on how high they’re willing to go.

Boston’s ideal would likely be to bring Salty back on a two-year deal in the $20 million range (which, according to reports, is about what they offered Ruiz). That seems like a realistic possibility now unless the Blue Jays or White Sox step it up. Alternatively, the Red Sox could go cheaper with Navarro to hold the fort down until one of their prospects is ready.

My guess: Salty back to Boston, Navarro to the Blue Jays (two years, $10 million), Pierzynski to the Twins (one year, $7 million), Suzuki to the White Sox (one year, $3 million) and Hanigan to the Mariners, with Wieters staying in Baltimore.

Miguel Olivo placed on restricted list after walking out on Marlins

Miguel Olivo AP

Frustrated by a lack of playing time and multiple efforts to be released from his contract, Miguel Olivo walked out on the Marlins during last night’s game against the Cardinals. As a result, he was placed on the restricted list today without pay.

Olivo opened the season as a backup to Rob Brantly, but he has functioned as a third catcher and bench bat since Jeff Mathis returned from a broken collarbone last month. The 34-year-old backstop has only made one start since May 12 and has logged just 18 plate appearances during the very same timespan.

According to Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post, Olivo met with Marlins manager Mike Redmond in the clubhouse during batting practice yesterday before going back out on the field and taking some swings. However, he was spotted in street clothes in the clubhouse just prior to the game and refused to stick around to talk to a member of the front office.

“I’ve never been involved in something like that, to have somebody just leave after batting practice. I think everyone was kind of in shock,’’ Redmond said.

“I know it wasn’t an ideal situation for him not getting to play a lot, but at the same time, too, the team relies on you and we all rely on you. Had that happened after the game it probably would have been a different situation.

“But when you do it before the game and put your team in a tough spot, that’s tough. It really tough on your teammates and your coaches.

“You’d have to ask him really why he chose that time to do it.’’

Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald was able to catch up with Olivo, who said that he doesn’t understand “why they keep me doing nothing” and that he’s “just praying to God they release me.”

It’s hard to see why the Marlins would go through all this trouble to keep a .241/.275/.417 career hitter around. It sure sounds like a waste of a roster spot. Hopefully they aren’t just being petty here, though I’m not sure they deserve much benefit of the doubt. While walking out on his team might not create the most favorable impression for a future employer, it’s fair to say that Olivo has played his final game with the Marlins.