Free Agent Target: Are Blue Jays In on Jarrod Saltalamacchia?
Oct 26, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals designated hitter Allen Craig (21) scores the winning run on an obstruction call even though Boston Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia (39) gets the tag on him during the ninth inning of game three of the MLB baseball World Series at Busch Stadium. Cardinals won 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Interesting note from Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, who on Tuesday night identified the Toronto Blue Jays as one of a handful of teams that could possibly jump in a steal Jarrod Saltalamacchia away from the Boston Red Sox.
Now in reality, that isn’t much of a reach on Heyman’s part, as the Blue Jays have already identified catching as their second greatest need this winter, behind only the starting rotation. With the market starting to dwindle a bit, after Carlos Ruiz and Brian McCann having signed with the Phillies and Yankees respectfully, Salty becomes the next best target for those teams looking to upgrade behind the plate.
The Colorado Rockies, Minnesota Twins, Chicago White Sox, and Texas Rangers are other teams also looking to add a new backstop this winter.
Considering how deep of a hole that J.P. Arencibia dug for himself this past season, Saltalamacchia would represent a huge upgrade for the Blue Jays. While his home run output dropped in 2013, Salty still contributed a solid slash line of .273/.338/.804, all of which represent a full-season career high for the 28-year-old switch hitter.
Although he’s not the greatest defensive catcher in the world, Saltalamacchia is regarded as being a good game caller and develops a strong relationship with his pitchers. He does not handle the knuckleball well, as evidenced by his time catching Tim Wakefield early in his career, so he isn’t likely to catch R.A. Dickey at all. However, with Josh Thole already on board, there is little concern about that in Toronto.
That all said, Salty may be out of Toronto’s price range. Tim Dierkes at MLB Trade Rumors pegged Saltalamacchia as likely to see a contract that ranges from a floor three-years, $24 million to a ceiling of four-years, $40 million. With the deals landed by Ruiz and McCann, the money for Salty likely falls closer to the ceiling than it does the floor.
Toronto is also said to be considering Dioner Navarro and A.J. Pierzynski as well. Kurt Suzuki also remains an outside, buy-low possibility for the Blue Jays.
So Jays fans, do you think Salty would make a good addition for Toronto?