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After the Red Sox missed out on Victor Martinez and John Buck, it would appear they are content with Jarrod Saltalamacchia behind the plate. Why? They are apparently interestred in Rod Barajas, according to reports.
In the most likely scenario, Barajas would be Saltalamacchia’s primary backup. Barajas, a righty, has struggled against left-handed pitchers in his career (.229/.283/.413), though his numbers against righties (.242/.284/.412) aren’t much better.
Over the past two years, Barajas had 19 home runs with Toronto (2009) and 17 homers in split time with the Mets and Dodgers. What was real impressive though was his time in Los Angeles, where he hit .297/.361/.578 with 5 HR and 13 RBI in 25 games. Barajas can provide some pop behind the plate, but he and Salty would be hard-pressed to even come close to Victor Martinez’s production.
V-Mart hit .302/.351/.491 with 20 home runs and 79 RBI playing most of the year at catcher, which helped make the Red Sox offense one of the most prolific in all of baseball despite the loss of Jason Bay. His numbers at the catcher position are nearly irreplaceable: Only Joe Mauer (.327) and Buster Posey (.305) had a better average, only Mike Napoli (26) and Brian McCann (21) had more HRs, while V-Mart led all catchers with a minimum of 400 plate appearances in RBI (79).
What Barajas would bring is some ability to throw out would-be base-stealers. Martinez and Jason Varitek struggled in that department last season, while Barajas has thrown out 32% of baserunners in his career. The 35-year-old’s arm strength has ebbed though, as he only threw out 15% of baserunners last season.
The Red Sox originally tried to acquire Barajas in a trade for Ramon Ramirez during the season to fill in while Martinez and Varitek were out with injuries. Now, the Red Sox only need to spend a little money to get the veteran.
Are Barajas and Saltalamacchia suitable replacements for Martinez and Varitek? Ehhhh, you be the judge.