Jarrod Saltalamacchia rediscovers his bat
Last season was a down year for Jarrod Saltalamacchia when he batted just .171 in 92 games. The Blue Jays have been looking for depth at the catching position for the past few years, and a Minor League contract with “Salty” could prove to be beneficial for both sides. Russell Martin is the Blue Jays everyday catcher, but the addition of another veteran is a solid add.
Toronto Blue Jays
Over the past few years, Josh Thole has filled the role of backup catcher and was an offensive void every fifth day to catch R.A. Dickey. One does not have to look far to find more offensive output, but Saltalamacchia represents a plus upside in the backup role. Yes, he did have a down year in 2016, but the year prior he batted .251 in 70 games with the Diamondbacks. He is entering his age 32 season and should still have something left in the tank. The Blue Jays are hoping that moving him to the hitter-friendly Rogers Centre will ignite his lumber.
This spring Salty will have to prove that his bat is still potent. He is definitely entering the “back 9” nine in the terms of his career, but he is still a solid player. He was able to maintain his catching skills and committed just 3 errors for a .994 fielding percentage. He also was able to catch 24% of would-be base stealers, and having a -7 for defensive runs saved also makes him stand out.
Look for Salty to get plenty of time to win the backup role this spring and show that he has plenty of pop left in his bat. If he can display the power he showed last season after hitting 12 home runs, he should be in a Blue Jays Jersey come opening day.