After winning the World Series as a member of the Boston Red Sox, Miami Marlins catcher and Palm Beach native Jarrod Saltalamacchia signed an extended contract with the Marlins to add to the veteran influence in the clubhouse and on the field. In addition to being paid for his productivity, Saltalamacchia's role as an experienced leader made him notably attractive.
Saltalamacchia hit a solo home run in the top of the tenth inning to give the Marlins a win over the Mets on Saturday night, and is batting .257. His four home runs have come in key siutations, and his .388 on-base percentage through 23 games has assisted a young Marlins lineup.
Aside from mentioning the fact that the media and social scene in Miami are notably different, Saltalamacchia explained that his early role on the team resembles that of a coach.
"Otherwise, the biggest difference is that there are a lot of younger guys. I’m finding myself saying things like ‘This is how we did it’ or ‘This is what I’ve seen.’ In some ways, it’s almost more of a coaching [role].
Miami wanted to add several veterans to their clubhouse, and they did so by signing Reed Johnson, Garrett Jones, and Casey McGehee, in addition to Saltalamacchia. While it doesn't seem as if he were surprised, Saltalamacchia's reaction to the Marlins' youth brings question to the role of Manager Mike Redmond. Although he has been praised for working with such a young and talented major league roster, Redmond's in-game decisions have recently been questioned.
With just one year of experience under his belt, during which the Marlins lost 100 games, Redmond is still learning and making adjustments. But by adding a World Series catcher behind the plate, the Marlins may have indirectly helped Redmond, too.
Saltalamacchia also noted that playing on a young team is surprisingly more entertaining, because nobody knows what they are going to get.
"The league doesn’t really know them, so it’s fun to see them go out there and just kind of see-ball-hit-ball. That’s kind of a Catch-22. In one respect it’s good, because you want them to be… how should I say this? With veteran guys you know what you’re going to get. With young guys there are still a lot of unknowns."
In recent weeks, the Marlins have been on both sides of the "unknowns." Jose Fernandez, Nathan Eovaldi, Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich have all been solid, but have also had their share of early struggles.
Saltalamachhia said that while he has been successful, Fernandez has been "just throwing the ball," and cited closer Steve Cishek as an example of a pitcher "who has a good understanding of who he is."
Miami's veterans have contributed early, and with the coaching role of Saltalamacchia, appear to have established the much needed veteran presence.