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.

Jackie Bradley, Jr. named ALCS MVP

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Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. was named the Most Valuable Player of the American League Championship Series after his club punched its ticket to the World Series on Thursday night against the Astros.

Coincidentally, the Astros’ Game 5 starter Justin Verlander was ALCS MVP last year en route to a championship.

Bradley went 0-for-3 with a walk in Thursday’s Game 5, but he hit a three-run double in Game 2, a grand slam in Game 3, and a go-ahead two-run home run in Game 4. That’s nine RBI and three extra-base hits across five games. He also drew four walks.

Though Bradley had a solid regular season, he was not near the top of the list most people would’ve expected to win ALCS MVP heading into the series. During the season, he hit .234/.314/.403 with 13 home runs, 59 RBI, 76 runs scored, and 17 stolen bases in 535 plate appearances.