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.
The Padres are set to recall top infield prospect Luis Urías from Triple-A El Paso, according to a report from Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune. It’ll be the second such stint for the club’s no. 2 prospect, and one they hope to extend through the end of the season. A corresponding roster move will be announced later this weekend.
Urías, 22, struggled in his first promotion to the majors this April. Touted as “one of the Minors’ better pure hitters” with “innate bat-to-ball skills” and “plus on-base skills,” he found it difficult to adjust to big league pitching and slashed a lackluster .083/.241/.125 with just two hits and four walks over 11 games with the Padres.
Upon his return to Triple-A, however, the young middle infielder has delivered nothing short of spectacular results, batting .315/.398/.600 with 19 home runs, seven stolen bases (in nine chances), and a .998 OPS across 339 plate appearances. Given the additional measures he’s taken to improve his mechanics — something, Acee says, the Padres are far more interested in than his results at the plate — it seems he may be ready to handle the competition at the highest level on a long-term basis.
Urías is expected to be recalled in time for the Padres’ game against the Cubs on Saturday, where he’ll likely share the middle infield with fellow top prospect Fernando Tatís. The game is set for 2:20 PM EDT.