Free Agent Notes: Jarrod Saltalamacchia and the Catching Market

Rob Carr

A number of things have fallen into place in the catcher market today. Let's play catch up and see what it might mean for the Twins.

After rumors earlier this week that a reunion between the Twins and A.J. Pierzynski could be in the cards, Minnesota allegedly pulled out of the discussions when it became apparent that the catcher was asking for too many years. Earlier today, the news came in that Pierzynski was signing a one-year contract with the Boston Red Sox worth $8.25 million dollars.

It's possible that Boston was able to snag Pierzynski on a one-year deal because other teams weren't interested or, like the Twins, weren't interested in a multi-year offer. It's possible that, as a contending team, Pierzynski was willing to sign with Boston on a one-year contract. Whatever the case, one of the market's major players at the catcher position is out of the pool and things are about to get a lot more interesting.

The Blue Jays have non-tendered the powerful but otherwise unproductive bat of J.P. Arencibia, which is an interesting option, but he's not the type of guy the Twins should be looking at if they're looking for a catcher capable of starting 110 games. There's vague interest in Kurt Suzuki, particularly from the Rangers, which is part of the reason that Texas isn't interested in having a reunion with Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

This entire market for the Twins had been down to Pierzynski and Saltalamacchia. With one going to Red Sox this morning the focus, all day, has been on Boston's outgoing backstop. And right now, it sounds like he might be choosing to stay closer to home.

It's hard to overcome the pull to play close to home, even if that team is the Marlins. Minnesota could certainly top two guaranteed years for Saltalamacchia. He's worth it. Unless, of course, they're not looking for a long-term option at catcher on the free agent market.

Josmil Pinto's view within the organization is largely unknown. It's feasible that the Twins aren't willing to give Saltalamacchia the long-term deal he's worth simply because they think it would take too much time away from Pinto.

While we've known for a long time that the front office wants to bring in a catcher to pair with Pinto behind the plate, starter or backup is a question that's gone unanswered. If Minnesota is looking for a starter, the question becomes: for how long? Saltalamacchia could get four years, in which case the message would be clear in that the Twins wouldn't see Pinto as a potential long-term solution. But the player in focus is on board for one year, or is a backup, then it's easy to read into the situation and see that the club believes that Pinto is close to being their regular catcher.

This situation seems like it will resolve itself, possibly tonight. If Minnesota loses out on Saltalamacchia, what's next?

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