UPDATE: With the Red Sox out signing A.J. Pierzynski, they are out of the Saltalamacchia race. It may very well be down to the Marlins and Twins. Stay tuned to Fish Stripes for more details.
Amid last night's news of the arbitration tender deadline, the Miami Marlins came up in yet another rumor for a potential ex-Boston Red Sox player. Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald initially reported that the Marlins were one of three teams in the running for free agent Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
The Marlins are one of three teams in the mix to sign Red Sox free agent catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, an official in touch with the team's front office told us earlier this evening. Minnesota and Boston are the other top contenders, according to an industry source. Financial parameters have been discussed with all three teams.
FOX Sports's Ken Rosenthal later reported that the Fish made a recent offer to the free agent catcher.
There are no details about the team's financial offerings to Saltalamacchia. Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors suggested Saltalamacchia could earn a four-year contract worth $36 million if a team was so inclined.
Given the positives Saltalamacchia brings to the table, a contract offer of that kind is not unreasonable. Saltalamacchia sates the Marlins' desire for power hitting, as he has hit 55 home runs in the last 1304 plate appearances playing for the Red Sox. He has a very respectable .244/.306/.457 batting line (.330 wOBA) over those three seasons, and that came with a .213 ISO. For his career, Saltalamacchia owns a solid .182 ISO and his hit about 18 homers every 500 plate appearances.
He does have his downsides at the plate and behind the dish as well, where he is considered a poor defender. But the Fish are desperate for hitting help after one of the worst offensive seasons in recent memory. The team is probably also confident that spending a season with the venerable defender Jeff Mathis as his backup can help shore up some of his defensive woes. But the primary point of the signing is that the Fish would get the offensive-minded catcher for whom the team was desperately looking.
The age factor also plays a role in the move. Miami could be more willing to offer a longer-term deal like a four-year pact because Saltalamacchia will be 29 in 2014. A four-year deal would only take him into his age-32 season, by which point the Fish may have found a more permanent replacement. It would be a viable second choice if the team could not find a younger, cost-controlled player to man the backstop.
Given that the rumor said that Miami has already made an offer and is a frontrunner alongside the Minnesota Twins and incumbent Red Sox, we have to presume that the Fish are serious. This is important now more than ever, as the catcher market is quickly shrinking. If Saltalamacchia is not in the cards, Miami might have to turn to a trade.
What do you Fish Stripers think? Is Miami serious with Saltalamacchia? What kind of contract would you like to see? Let us know in the comments below.