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.
On Sunday, we learned that while the Nationals would continue to pay their minor leaguers throughout the month of June, their weekly stipend would be lowered by 25 percent, from $400 to $300. In an incredible act of solidarity, Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle and his teammates put out a statement, saying they would be covering the missing $100 from the stipends.
After receiving some criticism, the Nationals reversed course, agreeing to pay their minor leaguers their full $400 weekly stipend.
Doolittle and co. have not withdrawn their generosity. On Wednesday, Doolittle released another statement, saying that he and his major league teammates would continue to offer financial assistance to Nationals minor leaguers through the non-profit organization More Than Baseball.
The full statement:
Washington Nationals players were excited to learn that our minor leaguers will continue receiving their full stipends. We are grateful that efforts have been made to restore their pay during these challenging times.
We remain committed to supporting them. Nationals players are partnering with More Than Baseball to contribute funds that will offer further assistance and financial support to any minor leaguers who were in the Nationals organization as of March 1.
We’ll continue to stand with them as we look forward to resuming our 2020 MLB season.
Kudos to Doolittle and the other Nationals continuing to offer a helping hand in a trying time. The players shouldn’t have to subsidize their employers’ labor expenses, but that is the world we live in today.