• Twins Chasing Top Catcher Jarrod Saltalmacchia?

    In his Sunday notes column, Boston Globe sportswriter Nick Cafardo mentioned that the Minnesota Twins continue to be pursuing catchers to replace Joe Mauer. And not just any catcher - the top remaining free agent catcher:

    7. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C, free agent — Salty is still very much on the Twins’ radar as they try to replace Joe Mauer after his move to first base. Saltalamacchia could get a three-year deal in the $30 million range, which would seem to be a no-brainer for a team looking for a switch-hitting, power-hitting catcher at age 28.
    As mentioned above, Saltalamacchia is a 28-year-old switch-hitting catcher who has hit 55 home run over the last three years with the Red Sox (which explains why this report is coming from a Boston newspaper). His OPS over those 3 years is .763, which would've been second on the Twins last year. Overall, those numbers about match what Ryan Doumit did back in 2012, which is very solid.

    This surprises me. I'm not surprised the Twins would try to sign a catcher, but it surprises me they would commit that kind of time and dollars to a catcher with Josmil Pinto, who was called up in September and thrived, on the verge of the major leagues. I guess I see a couple possibilities:

    1) The Twins liked the "half-time" arrangement they had the last couple years with Ryan Doumit and Mauer, and would like to do the same with Pinto and Saltalamacchia. It would keep both well-rested and both can hit enough to be the designated hitter when they're not catching. I think you could say the same about AJ Pierzynski, to whom the Twins have also been linked.

    It would also allow Saltalamacchia and Doumit (if he can catch) to split time this year, giving Pinto some time in AAA, and then Pinto takes Doumit's spot on the roster when his contract ends at the end of this year.

    2) I wonder if they would sign Saltalamacchia and then make Pinto available in a trade for young pitching? For whatever reason, the Twins have never seemed to be very high on Pinto. They could view now as a "sell high" opportunity. They might be right and it's interesting to think about just what kind of return they could get for him.

    With catcher Brian McCann being signed yesterday by the Yankees for $85 million over five years, Saltalamacchia is the best remaining catcher on the free agent market. In the Offseason Handbook, we estimated he would sign for 3 years and $24 million, and there was a lot of internal debate about that number. It'll be interesting to see if the Twins will be willing to pay what the market will bear.

    I'd love to see it, and not just because it isn't my money. To me, signing Saltalamacchia would represent a proactive instead of reactive move, giving the Twins some flexibility and time, as well as improving the offense. I'd still rather they go after pitching, but it's rare to nab a guy who is just 28 years old in free agency, especially one with Saltalamacchia's performance record. If this doesn't get in the way of adding another pitcher (and I don't think it does), it's a savvy move.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Cafardo: Twins on Salty started by twinscowboysbulls View original post
    Comments 210 Comments
    1. Winston Smith's Avatar
      Winston Smith -
      This isn't getting fixed in one off season, sign anybody that makes the team better and Salty would make the team better. Still plenty of money left for pitching and any other good players he can find, the key word is good and not more aaaa type guys.
    1. howieramone's Avatar
      howieramone -
      I'm guessing they are just kicking tires, but I like this move. Salty and Doumit, then Salty and Pinto. It's great to add power at catcher and DH. This won't impact our search for starting pitching, we have all kinds of money available. The problem with pitching is finding value, not money.
    1. John Bonnes's Avatar
      John Bonnes -
      You can view the page at http://twinsdaily.com/content.php?r=...-saltalmacchia
    1. kab21's Avatar
      kab21 -
      I would sign him for 3/30. He's a good player and it solves the problem at catcher and possibly gives the Twins a trade asset in Pinto.
    1. Riverbrian's Avatar
      Riverbrian -
      Quote Originally Posted by Riverbrian View Post
      The thing that makes me concerned about Salty is this.

      He's a Free Agent and Boston is shopping for a catcher. Either... He doesn't want to return to the World Series champions or the World Series champions don't want him back.

      I'm passing.
      I need to Clarify... I'm not passing... I'll take him and say welcome aboard...

      He's not my first choice... Is a better way to put it.

      I'm still pro AJ.
    1. whatever54's Avatar
      whatever54 -
      With our primary catching options now being Doumit, Pinto and maybe Hermann I can't see how you don't at least consider what's on the free agent market. How does Salty's addition subtract from this team? Even if Pinto develops into the catch we're hoping for, adding Salty or even AJ is still a very prudent decision.
    1. twinscowboysbulls's Avatar
      twinscowboysbulls -
      Exactly, it took a while but someone finally got the point across. It's about getting better. This move would make us better. Can I measure it and tell you how much? No, but it makes us better and it still gives us money to sign some pitching.
    1. mnfireman's Avatar
      mnfireman -
      I say do it. He seems to be improving every year and there is some guy named Mauer who can work with him a little bit also.
    1. johnnydakota's Avatar
      johnnydakota -
      If we sign Salty, 1 of 2 things will happen
      1 He has a good season and we trade his undervalue contract for a package of prospects.
      2.He has a bad season and we have to keep him.

      But by signing him,the team is sending a message that they are ready to spend on quality...
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      Well I guess my concern is that thus far this off-season most pitchers have been going for reasonable prices while the position players have been getting overpaid. Seeing as the Twins need pitching more than anything (or any team) they should be devoting their efforts to that front.
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      Quote Originally Posted by johnnydakota View Post
      If we sign Salty, 1 of 2 things will happen
      1 He has a good season and we trade his undervalue contract for a package of prospects.
      2.He has a bad season and we have to keep him.

      But by signing him,the team is sending a message that they are ready to spend on quality...
      The Twins don't generally trade guys when they are at their peak value. Lately they've been selling low.
    1. PseudoSABR's Avatar
      PseudoSABR -
      Salty really only hits well from the left side; I'd worry that TF could drain some of that power. I'd honestly like to spend money elsewhere.
    1. Brandon's Avatar
      Brandon -
      Salty has experience being on a winner which can hopefully add to the environment the Twins are trying to create on the team next season. The question is will the Twins only sign 1 pitcher as a result and then go dumpster diving for another or will they still be able and willing to sign 2 pitchers this offseason.
    1. johnnydakota's Avatar
      johnnydakota -
      Quote Originally Posted by nicksaviking View Post
      The Twins don't generally trade guys when they are at their peak value. Lately they've been selling low.
      Maybe that is something they need to look at...
      some famouse manager said in the early 1900s it is better to trade a guy 1 year to early , then to trade him 1 year to late..(Connie M.) Also look at Tampa and there system , trade them 2 years before,why,because if they have a bad year they can still bring him back and get a good year out of them and trade the player on the upside rather then on down swing...Just sayin
    1. jm3319's Avatar
      jm3319 -
      Makes sense to me. Helps the team now, and buys time for Pinto to develop more. And it's only $10 M a year. The Twins will still have truckloads of cash to put towards pitching
    1. Kwak's Avatar
      Kwak -
      A colossal mistake. The Twins need pitching.
    1. johnnydakota's Avatar
      johnnydakota -
      Quote Originally Posted by Kwak View Post
      A colossal mistake. The Twins need pitching.
      You sir are correct we need pitching, but sadly we need more then just 3 quality new starters to compete.Im not completly sold on Salty as our answer to catching position especially if it is 3-4 years, but it is a start, if we can add a quality catcher and a couple of starters who are 2nd tier...aka... Garza,Jimenez type ,we have a shot at getting to .500
    1. Brandon's Avatar
      Brandon -
      Salty did strike out in 30% of his at bats last year. just wanted to point that out. seems a bit much.
    1. mudcat14's Avatar
      mudcat14 -
      Agree that Salty for 3-years would be a mistake. He doesn't get on base, drive in runs or throw out base-runners. He does, strike out a ton. I could argue that Pinto is better in each of those areas, right now! The Twins seem to place an extreme value on pitch-framing and handling the staff, strengths of Mauer and alleged weaknesses of Pinto. My question, if Mauer was so good and it's so important, why has our pitching staff been at the bottom of the league for three years running?


      Bring in a veteran like AJ on a 1-year, high-dollar deal to platoon with Pinto and season him at the big league level.
    1. Kwak's Avatar
      Kwak -
      Pitch-framing is only for pitchers with enough credibility to warrant it. The Twins' collection of flesh-covered iron-mikes pitch-framing is but a meaningless issue.
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