Veteran catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia has announced that he is calling it a career. The 33-year-old spent parts of a dozen seasons at the MLB level.
In a statement to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal (Facebook link), Saltalamacchia expressed gratitude to his former organizations, teammates and fans, along with his family and agent Jim Munsey. He also spoke of the honor he felt following in the footsteps of his childhood idol, Jason Varitek, over a four-year run with the Red Sox.
Ultimately, Saltalamacchia will be remembered best for his time in Boston, over which he turned in 1,329 plate appearances of .243/.307/.455 hitting with 55 home runs. He was a big part of the team’s 2013 World Series championship outfit, turning in a career year at the plate (.273/.338/.466) while appearing in 121 games for the second-straight season.
That platform campaign set the stage for a successful trip onto the open market, as he landed a three-year, $21MM deal with the Marlins. Unfortunately, things didn’t really work out in Miami. Indeed, many of the drawbacks we noted in the post on that signing — high strikeout rate, difficulties against left-handed pitching, and questionable glovework behind the dish — led to an unexpectedly brief tenure with the Fish.
Saltalamacchia ultimately made it through just nine games in the second season of that deal before he was cut loose. He rebounded later in 2015 with the Diamondbacks, and earned a significant role with the Tigers in the ensuing campaign, but never really regained his footing in the big leagues. Saltalamacchia had brief showings over the past two seasons with the Blue Jays and Tigers.
Of course, all that occurred following Salty’s most memorable moment from a hot stove perspective. After being taken 36th overall by the Braves, and debuting in the big leagues on his 22nd birthday in 2007, Saltalamacchia was shipped to the Rangers along with four other talented young players in exchange for then-star first baseman Mark Teixeira. Saltalamacchia never fully established himself in parts of four seasons in Texas before he was swapped to the Red Sox in a decidedly less flashy deal that nevertheless paid dividends for his new team.
It’s not yet clear what Saltalamacchia will pursue next from a professional perspective, but he says his initial focus will be outside of the game. As he puts it, it is now his turn to join the “cheering section” for his wife and four daughters after they did the same for him over his long playing career. MLBTR extends its best wishes to Saltalamacchia and his family.