Marlins Manager Mike Redmond is not concerned about the slow start of Jarrod Saltalamacchia. And while the veteran catcher has high hopes for 2015, Miami considered other catching options during the offseason. According to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald, the Marlins could not complete a deal because there was not a notable amount of interest in Saltalamacchia.
A Marlins official said the team has no choice but to give it another shot with him because it couldn’t find a taker for the last two years and $15 million of his contract.
Saltalamacchia, 29, posted a .220/.320/.362 battling line to complement 11 home runs and 44 RBIs while serving as the Marlins' starting catcher. In addition to handling a young Marlins staff last season, Saltalamacchia was also adjusting to the National League. Coming off of a solid 2013 campaign with the Red Sox, the Marlins signed the veteran backstop to a three-year, $21 million deal.
While the Marlins have completed their first series of 2015, Saltalamacchia's offensive approach with runners in scoring position has been in the spotlight early. With the Marlins trailing by a run and Saltalamacchia batting with the bases loaded and no outs on Monday, he bounced into a double play which ended a Miami rally. Saltalamacchia batted .182 with runners in scoring position last season, and after starting the first two games against the Braves is 0-for-7 with five strikeouts. Redmond opted to have Jeff Mathis start Wednesday night to get him playing time and have Saltalamacchia take a day off.
After upgrading their lineup, the Marlins may have explored a possible trade involving Saltalamacchia. However, the Marlins were likely asked to eat a portion of his contract if there were clubs interested in making a deal, and giving Saltalamacchia another season to adjust could prove to be more beneficial than paying him to play for another team.
If Saltalamacchia's offensive struggles persist, the Marlins do have catching depth. J.T. Realmuto played in 11 games with the Marlins in 2014, and has emerged as one of Miami's top prospects. Mathis likely would not be considered for a starting role, although he does have a notable amount of experience.
Despite the fact the Marlins were unsuccessful in finding any takers, if a team is in need of catching help at the major league level, Saltalamacchia may be an available option. It is only the first week of the season and Saltalamacchia will be evaluated over time. But if the Marlins considered trading him once, they may revisit the idea at some point in the future.