4:18pm: The Jays and Saltalamacchia are in agreement on a minor league contract, pending a physical, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter link). He’d earn a $1.25MM base salary upon making the club and could also earn up to $250K via incentives.
4:08pm: The Blue Jays and free-agent catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia are closing in on an agreement, reports Shi Davidi of Sportsnet. If completed, Saltalamacchia would presumably become the favorite to serve as a backup to starting catcher Russell Martin. The 31-year-old Saltalamacchia is represented by ACES. ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported yesterday that Toronto had expressed interest in the veteran switch-hitter.
Saltalamacchia spent the 2016 season with the Tigers (although it was technically the final season of a three-year, $21MM deal he’d signed with the Marlins prior to the 2014 campaign). Though he showed some pop early in the season (.874 OPS, seven homers through his first 86 plate appearances), Saltalamacchia struggled to a .171/.281/.346 batting line in 292 PAs when over the course of the season as a whole. He is, however, a year removed from a .251/.332/.474 showing in nearly 200 PAs with the D-backs, and his .237/.309/.434 batting line from 2011-15 was solid, if unspectacular.
As Davidi points out, Saltalamacchia is a known commodity to Blue Jays vice president of baseball operations Ben Cherington, who served as the general manager in Boston for much of Saltalamacchia’s tenure with the team.
Saltalamacchia isn’t regarded as a strong defensive option, as he’s stopped a below-average 22 percent of stolen-base attempts against him in his career and also seen his pitch-framing numbers deteriorate over the years. Salatlamacchia is a switch-hitter, though, so he can help to balance out a lineup that is heavily right-handed if he ultimately does make the team.
Among internal candidates, recent waiver claim Juan Graterol and longtime Jays prospect A.J. Jimenez represent the most significant competition that will face Saltalamacchia in Spring Training. Graterol has a limited offensive track record but is more well-regarded from a defensive standpoint. Jimenez, meanwhile, was once regarded as one of the Jays’ best prospects but has seen his stock slide in recent years. He’ll turn 27 early in the 2017 season and is coming off a season in which he batted .241/.290/.377 in Triple-A.
Ugh just use a good defender with no bat like graterol. We don’t need a backup catcher who isn’t good at defense and has a bad bat.
Defense is more important in a catcher and although salty could be alright offensively, I’d much rather have a good glove no bat catcher
Exactly. Thankfully this is just a Minor League deal, and other guys like Hanigan can be brought in on a similar deal to compete in ST
The only thing that I like about this is that he’s handled a starting job before and he hits righties better than lefties, so when we’re facing the tougher guys like tanaka and archer we could give Martin the day off and hopefully not lose to much offense
Hanigan’s defense has completely eroded. He was basically Saltalamachia with a worse bat last year.
Martins not much of a hitter anymore
He was like top 5 in offense for catchers last year and was the only one in the AL with 20 homer behind the plate
He was 6th out of 8 qualified catchers in oWAR, and actually was a negative with the bat. He was also 7th in overall WAR. His only above average asset last year was his pitch framing, and he only ranked 25th in that. Perez and Lucroy also had 20hr.
compared to other catchers he was
No stat values catchers fairly yet.
To qualify as catcher is a big achievement alone!
I have to go min 275PA before I get close to 30 samples to compare from last season.
By ESPN version of WAR- Martin ranked 13th of top 29 based on min 275PA.
Pretty good, but the value to me is in being on the field… Still not top 5 for Martin!
He’ll hit if he can avoid getting too dinged up. Unlikely.
Last summer says he’s still got it, but last year in general says he’s aging before our eyes.
First six weeks of last year were brutal, I’d bank that he can at least repeat least year’s offensive numbers.
And the rapport with the staff can’t go unmentioned. There is a way he works with them that seems linked with how they overachieve.
Still can’t call him top 5 though? Maybe if everything went healthy..
He isn’t a great defender
Why not Navarro?
Navarro is pretty poor defensively (not that Salty is better) and would command a major league deal. Low risk insurance option here
Really! Horrible choice. Might as well give AJ Jimenez a shot as a backup. What they have to lose
Think that might be why it is a minor league deal…. If AJ Jimenez doesn’t look like he can handle it during spring training they have Saltalamacchia and Juan Graterol to fallback on. Sounds like a good plan. no?
Don’t mind this signing. It’s a minor league deal at low cost. This doesn’t mean it’s the be all and end all of looking for a backup but at least it provides options and depth, especially considering there isn’t a lot of depth after Martin.
Ya I guess, his only real job is to give Martin a day or two off every week and if he does that it’ll be fine
wish my twins could have signed Salty, I think Joe Mauer could have really shown him the ropes and mentored him
shown him the ropes? he’s in his 30’s. He’s well aware of the “ropes”
he could have learned a lot from Mauer
i love that line
Looks like it’s time for Graterol to hit the waiver wire again!
I bet he winds up in Anaheim for the third time this winter.
I’d prefer Salty as the backup in AAA mentoring whatever young catcher we place there (assuming either McGuire or Jimenez). Hoping we keep looking elsewhere.
What can he mentor in? His defensive metrics rate below average and he has always been a back up catcher. So what he preps guys to carry bags?
Why not bring Reese McGuire up to get his feet wet in the show and learn from one of the greatest defensive catchers in the game?
Because McGuire’s bat still needs a lot of seasoning and would get completely exposed in the MLB.
Hey Mark I agree. Reese is solid. And even tho not a notch above double A he would do well learning from Martin. I would have been happy them carrying him on from spring training.
But salty. That is the pop thole did not have. He is streaky but I think he is a lot better than Navarro doncha think?
I know Reese bat needs work but catcher position is primarily defensive position so having him up to learn the defence side from Martin would help his career come along nicely and ready him for a full time role at the cost of offence production from a back up catcher position.
Salty is a much better upgrade over thole with the bat but I think defence should be the primary aspect of a back up catcher which salty lacks in greatly.
Just think of it this way, tigers fans went into last season knowing this guy was their starting catcher.. us jays fans don’t have it all bad
McCann was (and still is) the Tigers starting catcher. He took the job from Avila in 2015.
One thing about Salty….
He represented the best value in a jersey as measured by letters/$ spent on the Tigers roster. You would have gotten FOURTEEN letters.
Compare that to Ex-Tigers pitcher Fu Te Ne (only TWO letters).
Smart Jays fans will grab his jersey if they are looking for value.
hahaha that was awesome
They can hang it next to their Mike Krushelnyski Maple Leafs jerseys.
Y’all forget we had scrabble before he got important as a midlife inning guy.
Lol middle. But midlife works ha ha
I wish the Jays had taken Tyler Heineman in the rule 5 draft. FG had this to say at the time:
“Tyler Heineman hit .259/.344/.351 at Triple-A this past year while logging 63 games behind the plate. Heineman’s short on power, but the switch-hitter’s contact-oriented approach has resulted in decent OBPs in the upper levels. Furthermore, both Clay Davenport and Baseball Prospectus rate him as a very good defensive catcher.”
At the time of the rule 5 I had this thought:
“Imagine the Jays putting five switch hitters on the 25-man roster for 2017: Justin Smoak, Kendrys Morales, Dexter Fowler, Dalton Pompey, and Tyler Heineman. Three are under contract, Heineman would be basically free, with Fowler the only player who might be tough to sign.”
Right and that team you propose does not make the playoffs.
Anyone notice that he is Saltalamacchia as well as Salatlamacchia?
This is a good signing. Pop for a year. People forget we have Reese McGuire. He is sound defensively. A year at triple A and he can step in.