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As the Red Sox dished out over $300 million in guaranteed money this offseason for Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford, it was evident that Victor Martinez was not going to be at America’s most beloved ballpark come Opening Day.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia had been on the Sox radar for quite some time. He is a 6-4, 235 pound switch-hitting catcher that the Sox felt could handle the pitching staff and job behind the plate. As the Sox scuffled as the season began, starting 2-10, Salty was in the middle of the fire, but as he adjusted to playing for one of the biggest-market teams in the game, he showed Red Sox Nation why he deserves the nod starting behind the plate for years to come.
After a horrific start, Salty now sports a respectable .249 average, 7 homers (including a HR on Monday), 25 RBI, 25 runs scored, and an OPS of .761. He is contributing very nicely in a loaded offense and is answering the bell when called upon. It also helps when you have one of the best game callers of the past 10 years in your dugout in Jason Varitek, helping you out on a daily basis. Salty will be the future at the catching position along with current minor-league catchers Luis Exposito and Ryan Lavarnway.
Salty has had trouble throwing runners out on the base paths, but lately he looks like Ivan Rodriguez in his prime, throwing out runners at will. He will improve every day by being on the same page as his manager and pitcher at all times. Playing with Jason Varitek won’t hurt either. Varitek has been around Josh Beckett, John Lackey, Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, and Tim Wakefield for years and knows their tendencies. If Salty listens to Tek, Salty has a chance to be an elite catcher in the Major Leagues.