Jarrod Saltalamacchia can't hide his excitement when he hears rumors of being traded to Boston.
"That would be a dream come true," said Saltalamacchia, 23. "I'd love to go there and either work under Jason for a year or two or just go there and catch full-time.
"I love watching Jason. He's like an idol of mine. I watch him and I learn from him and I'd love to be able to spend time with him. I saw him this year and we talked for a while and I learned so much from him in the short time we had."
Saltalamacchia is far from Varitek defensively, but a veteran scout who has watched both of them said, "They are very similar. Jason wasn't a finished product at 23 years old, either. It took a lot of work to get him where he is right now.
"Jason just made the decision that 'I'm going to pull this off' and he went about it by putting his nose in the sand and making it happen. Salty has a chance to get there, too. I think the difference might be that Salty is going to hit and hit for power. He's a big kid and he looks like he could be an offensive force."
When Saltalamacchia was apprised of those comments, he said, "Oh my God, that's so amazing. I just want to get my catching abilities where Jason is."
Teagarden might be the more accomplished defensive player now, but Saltalamacchia's upside is thought of as greater.
"I just need to play," he said. "When I was traded from Atlanta to Texas, I thought I was going to play every day, but we have a lot of catchers here and our season didn't go the way we wanted it, so I found myself playing first base a little bit, catching a little bit, and so I never had any consistency behind the plate.
"I work very hard on my catching and calling games, and trying to build a rapport with pitchers and throwing. When I'm not catching, I watch how Gerald and Taylor do things and just learn how different catchers do things. I just have to do it more."