After a dismal first month as the Blue Jays backup catcher, Jarrod Saltalamacchia has been formerly released.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia came into the season with hopes of being a big bat off the bench for the Blue Jays, and the guy to give much-needed rest to starter Russell Martin. Instead, he hit just .040 with a single hit in 25 at-bats.
He initially came to the Jays on a minor league deal, with an invite to spring training. He was due to make $1.25 million as a major leaguer, before getting released.
Saltalamacchia seemed to be a signing just so the Jays could say they had a backup catcher plan. With only one other catcher in the organization, other than Martin, with major league experience in Luke Maile, Saltalamacchia was a pre-season favourite to be Martin’s backup. That plan exploded spectacularly in the Jays faces, as Saltalamacchia showed he has no place in a major league lineup.
Before being released, Saltalamacchia was designated for assignment on April 28, and the Jays selected the contract of Maile from Buffalo.
The Jays have a few options now that Saltalamacchia is officially off the roster. There are still a few catchers who are free agents who could be signed by the Jays. Among those are Dioner Navarro and Steve Clevenger. Navarro is familiar to the Jays, having been their starter in 2014, and their backup for 2015 and half of last season.
The Jays could also just stick with Maile, who is mostly known for his defence. Outside of Maile, there’s no real option from inside the organization. The rest of the crop of catchers still need to develop, and bringing them up now could possibly stunt their growth.
A third option could be to trade for a backup. The problem with this is while backups aren’t expensive, they are vital to the success of an organization. Having a good, solid backup means that a team can rest their starter semi-regularly, which in turn gives better production from that starter. Also, the Jays don’t have any good trade pieces for this sort of trade. The prospects they could trade are too good for just getting a backup catcher, and they don’t have enough depth to trade a major league talent.
Saltalamacchia finished his tenure as a Jay with a .040 batting average, no home runs, no RBIs and a horrendous .117 OPS in 10 games.