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Jarrod Saltalamacchia is a very good catcher


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#1 Foulkey Reese


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Posted 15 April 2011 - 08:53 PM

He's good.

Edited by Foulkey Reese, 07 August 2011 - 11:34 PM.


#2 smastroyin


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Posted 15 April 2011 - 09:18 PM

Compared to expectation, Salty is about problem 125 for this team right now, and there is nothing out there to replace him.

Like, honestly, unless you think promoting Expo is a good idea or that there is someone available for trade, they are kinda stuck with him. And it wouldn't be a problem if 20 other guys weren't also sucking hard every day.

#3 Rudy Pemberton


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Posted 15 April 2011 - 10:28 PM

I think the catching situation is fairly high up on the list of problems. It's impossible to measure how much the catcher is affecting the pitching, but I find it hard to believe that Salty is helping matters back there. He's done nothing to combat any of the fears that exist about him not being a major league player, or ready to be the starting catcher on a contending (HA!) team. He doesn't appear competent on either side of the ball, and its hard to see any of the leadership qualities you'd like to see out of a catcher. Small sample for sure, but really every pitcher on the staff is underperforming. Might be a coincidence, but I think you probably have to give more playing time to Varitek at this point, and try to find a better solution immediately. I mean, this isn't working and there's nothing in Salty's recent history to suggest it's going to. Move on.

Is there anything in Salty's track record, in hindsight, to suggest he was ready for this kind of role? I wanted to believe it but seems like just wishful thinking. Or, maybe he'll turn it around and we'll look back at this thread and laugh. Sure.

#4 Maalox


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Posted 15 April 2011 - 10:34 PM

Yeah, he's not good at the plate by any means. But he ain't the problem. You could replace him with Brian McCann tomorrow and you wouldn't have righted this ship.

#5 Rudy Pemberton


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Posted 15 April 2011 - 10:37 PM

While true, he is A problem; and catcher is a fairly important position, and it seems like something the team could address. There's a million problems right now, might as well try to do a few that are low risk and see if there's an impact. Or not, I don't know. It's convenient to think that changing catchers will somehow fix some of the pitching problems too, but probably not realistic.

#6 smastroyin


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Posted 15 April 2011 - 10:42 PM

While true, he is A problem; and catcher is a fairly important position, and it seems like something the team could address. There's a million problems right now, might as well try to do a few that are low risk and see if there's an impact. Or not, I don't know. It's convenient to think that changing catchers will somehow fix some of the pitching problems too, but probably not realistic.


I think the problem is that they can't address it.

There is a reason they kept signing Jason Varitek. Catchers are hard to find. Maybe they should have spent the money on John Buck or something but right now their options are Salty, Expo, Michael McKenry (who posted a 732 OPS as a 25 year old in Colorado Springs last year), or trade. I agree however that Tek should be in against lefties. In fact I am concerned that him not starting tonight is actually indicative that he can't really handle a 40% workload or back to back games too often.

#7 Super Nomario


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Posted 15 April 2011 - 11:13 PM

Anybody wanna revisit this?

Defense has been pretty awful. This hitting has been nonexistent. Anybody think he can turn it around and be at least league average?

I think he certainly can, but he might be the fall guy for the awful start. They have to do something, and there's not really anywhere else to turn.

#8 DanoooME


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Posted 15 April 2011 - 11:15 PM

Maybe they could drag Bengie Molina out of semi-retirement. :rolleyes:

Can he really be a drag on the pitching staff? I'm not seeing it. It's not like they are 2-0 with 'Tek and 0-10 with Salty. Besides, we've won games with Kevin Cash catching this staff.

The whole team needs a sphincterectomy at this point. Salty is a problem, but not the worst one. And they should at least give him "Pedroia time" to get going.

#9 Clears Cleaver


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Posted 16 April 2011 - 06:06 AM

I think Salty is a huge problem, and I am ignrong his hitting entirely, which we all know has not been good so far. His ability to simply sacth the baseball is poor. he has no idea how to frame pitches and cost Jenks and Clay specifically at least two or three strikes that were called balls last night that led directly to either hits or BBs. And he cannot throw. Temas are running on him like they run on Tek. Tehre is no way the pitchers can have any confidence with him behind the plate. The team is walking a ton of hitters, perhaps it is a partly result of his lack of skill receiving

I don't know if he is calling the games or not, so I cannnot comment.

#10 BosRedSox5


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Posted 16 April 2011 - 07:23 AM

It's frustrating that the Red Sox have not produced a catching prospect in like 10 years. George Kottaras and Kelly Shoppach both kind of stink and we've known that we needed a replacement for Tek for years. I know that you shouldn't draft for need in the MLB, but it seems like they could have at least found ONE catcher who can play.

#11 Smiling Joe Hesketh


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Posted 16 April 2011 - 07:58 AM

I think the problem is that they can't address it.

There is a reason they kept signing Jason Varitek. Catchers are hard to find. Maybe they should have spent the money on John Buck or something but right now their options are Salty, Expo, Michael McKenry (who posted a 732 OPS as a 25 year old in Colorado Springs last year), or trade. I agree however that Tek should be in against lefties. In fact I am concerned that him not starting tonight is actually indicative that he can't really handle a 40% workload or back to back games too often.

They could have, of course, re-signed Victor. Their reasoning at the time was that in 2 or 3 years they didn't see Victor as being able to catch, so they allowed him to leave. They then replaced him with a guy who can't catch this year. I can't see that as anything but a massive failure in their pro scouting department.

Salty doesn't appear to be a major league catcher. His bat is nonexistent, but we all know catchers suck as hitters. But the actual catching part of his game looks to be terrible as well: his game-calling is questionable, the pitchers are getting drilled when he's behind the plate, and his defense is very poor. I can't imagine what the Sox saw in him to allow Victor to walk and simply name him the starter. He's awful in every way.

#12 zimmerolls

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Posted 16 April 2011 - 10:04 AM

Maybe they could drag Bengie Molina out of semi-retirement. :rolleyes:

Can he really be a drag on the pitching staff? I'm not seeing it. It's not like they are 2-0 with 'Tek and 0-10 with Salty. Besides, we've won games with Kevin Cash catching this staff.

... Salty is a problem, but not the worst one. And they should at least give him "Pedroia time" to get going.


I keep wondering about Chris Young...I mean it doesn't keep me up at night but WTH has he done w/ our pitching staff?

As for Salty if we had a good start everyone would be just fine with him. Hell he's even thrown a few batters out. (in key moments) He may not last all season but it will be more about how fast the RS turn it around. Tired of the yak on how Varitek should be 'in there' Varitek's good days are over...he's the back up catcher. He isn't the virile guy in his 30's. He's there to pass the baton of experience over and not much more. Now we're making him a God. And on the other side of it. I think he may end up being the 'Dougie for Tim' to Beckett.

#13 MyDaughterLovesTomGordon

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Posted 16 April 2011 - 10:25 AM

I don't see how you could have watched the game last night and think that was the performance of an acceptable major league catcher. He completely fell apart in the seventh and the Jays were running at will. They had zero fear of being thrown out, and we're not exactly talking about speed merchants in Aaron Hill (in the sixth) and Adam Lind and Jose Bautista. The passed ball was an embarrassment. He looked rattled and timid and he was jabbing at the ball as a receiver like he was catching knucklers out there. He is by no means the only problem out there - or the biggest one - but he just does not look like an everyday catcher.

Victor had his issues behind the plate, but he at least exuded some confidence and the players seemed to rally around him. Salt looked like he didn't deserve to be on the field last night.

#14 zimmerolls

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Posted 16 April 2011 - 11:50 AM

I don't see how you could have watched the game last night and think that was the performance of an acceptable major league catcher. He completely fell apart in the seventh and the Jays were running at will. They had zero fear of being thrown out, and we're not exactly talking about speed merchants in Aaron Hill (in the sixth) and Adam Lind and Jose Bautista. The passed ball was an embarrassment. He looked rattled and timid and he was jabbing at the ball as a receiver like he was catching knucklers out there. He is by no means the only problem out there - or the biggest one - but he just does not look like an everyday catcher.

Victor had his issues behind the plate, but he at least exuded some confidence and the players seemed to rally around him. Salt looked like he didn't deserve to be on the field last night.


Your right, I didn't see the game...unfortunately I was limited to game day and a little game day audio now and then. So at this point w/out options are we saying Varitek should be in there late as a 'defensive' catcher because I have NO memory of him throwing guys out too often either. Had I watched the game I might have had the same response as you. I actually wanted Russell Matin but I don't think the RS woes can be blamed solely on this guy.....

#15 Lose Remerswaal


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Posted 16 April 2011 - 01:34 PM

I keep wondering about Chris Young...I mean it doesn't keep me up at night but WTH has he done w/ our pitching staff?

As for Salty if we had a good start everyone would be just fine with him. Hell he's even thrown a few batters out. (in key moments) He may not last all season but it will be more about how fast the RS turn it around. Tired of the yak on how Varitek should be 'in there' Varitek's good days are over...he's the back up catcher. He isn't the virile guy in his 30's. He's there to pass the baton of experience over and not much more. Now we're making him a God. And on the other side of it. I think he may end up being the 'Dougie for Tim' to Beckett.

Chris Young hasn't done anything with our pitching staff. He should be fired, but the Mets have already put him on the DL, so I'm not sure how that would help anyone.

#16 Rudy Pemberton


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Posted 16 April 2011 - 01:38 PM

I thought Chris Young was the CF for the Diamondbacks? :)

#17 Lose Remerswaal


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Posted 16 April 2011 - 01:40 PM

I thought Chris Young was the CF for the Diamondbacks? :)

No, he's the country singer. Pay attention.

#18 Doctor G

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Posted 16 April 2011 - 04:54 PM

There is a reason why the Yankees are not playing Montero behind the plate. The impact of four offensive at bats does not outweigh the impact of poor recieving skills and throwing ability over the course of twenty seven outs defensively.

Neither Salty or Montero is an adequate defensive catcher. The Yankees realize this the Red Sox don't.

Edited by Doctor G, 16 April 2011 - 04:55 PM.


#19 jtn46


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Posted 16 April 2011 - 10:01 PM

It's frustrating that the Red Sox have not produced a catching prospect in like 10 years. George Kottaras and Kelly Shoppach both kind of stink and we've known that we needed a replacement for Tek for years. I know that you shouldn't draft for need in the MLB, but it seems like they could have at least found ONE catcher who can play.

But imagine how frustrated the Rangers are. In Saltalamacchia and Teagarden they had big-time catching prospects, and now they're playing Yorvit Torrealba because the young guys stalled out.

There is a reason why the Yankees are not playing Montero behind the plate. The impact of four offensive at bats does not outweigh the impact of poor recieving skills and throwing ability over the course of twenty seven outs defensively.

Neither Salty or Montero is an adequate defensive catcher. The Yankees realize this the Red Sox don't.

That's a bad comparison for a number of reasons.

1. Scouts have doubted Montero's ability to stay at catcher his entire career, and still doubt it. While Saltalamacchia is big for the position, his minor league career was not characterized by this the way it is for Montero.

2. Montero is 21. It's a young age for any player, especially a catcher still learning the toughest position to learn in baseball and Montero just hit AAA last season. It would be aggressive to have him as the everyday catcher right now on a contending team in that market.

3. Montero has immense trade value right now as a catcher. If the Yankees call him up, play him 5 days a week, at catcher, and he struggles (as you would expect any 21-year old rookie to do) his trade value plummets, especially him, because of the doubt surrounding his ability to stay at the position.

4. If the Yankees really wanted the best receiver and were willing to punt offense for it, Russell Martin is not the ideal guy for that. They signed Martin because they hoped his offense would come back. They also didn't want the Red Sox to sign him.


Saltalamacchia isn't the starting catcher for the next 5 years, Theo simply decided to use an internal option in 2011, Saltalamacchia was the best internal option available, and he comes with a shot at the upside imagined for him when he was a prospect. The alternatives were just not very good last winter so I have trouble finding much fault in this plan.

#20 zimmerolls

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Posted 16 April 2011 - 10:37 PM

Chris Young hasn't done anything with our pitching staff. He should be fired, but the Mets have already put him on the DL, so I'm not sure how that would help anyone.


yeah, yeah Curt Young it is...brain morph.

A little ray of sunlight today a la Beckett.

#21 reggiecleveland


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Posted 17 April 2011 - 12:00 AM

FWIW Buck Martinez (on the sportsnet broadcast)hinted that Farrell was aware Red Sox pitchers were unhappy with Salty as a target. Of course he was giving Tek credit for Beckett's outing at the time. But he did point out he thought Tek was cooked a a hitter. I had to agree with one thing he said. He thought Tek should catch once through the rotation, since generally the starting pitching was killing the Red Sox.

#22 Tudor Fever

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Posted 17 April 2011 - 09:36 AM

It's frustrating that the Red Sox have not produced a catching prospect in like 10 years. George Kottaras and Kelly Shoppach both kind of stink and we've known that we needed a replacement for Tek for years. I know that you shouldn't draft for need in the MLB, but it seems like they could have at least found ONE catcher who can play.

Kottaras came over from San Diego when they traded David Wells. And Shoppach has had some decent years for other teams but was blocked by Tek back when Tek could actually play baseball.

As for your larger point, it's incredibly hard to draft good catchers, especially if you don't have one of the top few picks to use on someone like Mauer or Posey. And the top draftees don't always pan out; see Ben Davis. Plus, some first-rounders drafted as catchers (Paul Konerko, Jayson Werth) quickly shift to other positions.

#23 EddieYost


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Posted 17 April 2011 - 10:48 AM

Wait...is Benjie Molina a free agent? If the trend of pitchers sucking w Salty behind the plate continues...should we consider him?

#24 RoDaddy

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Posted 17 April 2011 - 11:47 AM

It's frustrating that the Red Sox have not produced a catching prospect in like 10 years. George Kottaras and Kelly Shoppach both kind of stink and we've known that we needed a replacement for Tek for years. I know that you shouldn't draft for need in the MLB, but it seems like they could have at least found ONE catcher who can play.

For some reason, it just hasn't been a draft priority during Epstein's stay. Maybe he was snake bit early on when he drafted Egan in the second round and Still in the 4th, and both turned out to be busts. Since then, when they have most needed to prepare for the inevitable Varitek decline, they have not drafted a catcher higher than Lavarnway at 6 in 2008, and in 2007, 2009 and 2010, didn't even draft one in the first 10 rounds! (although, to their credit, they did make Ibarra an International signing priority during that time). They do have their share of solid catcher prospects (Lavarnway, Expo, Fedex, Ibarra, Butler), but I'm not sure that any of these guys are anything more than backup major league catchers. Maybe they'll pick up a stud this year as one of their top 4 (out of 40) picks. I already saw one mock draft that had them drafting HS catcher Nicky Delmonico in the first round.

Edited by RoDaddy, 17 April 2011 - 11:48 AM.


#25 Lose Remerswaal


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Posted 17 April 2011 - 11:50 AM

Wait...is Benjie Molina a free agent? If the trend of pitchers sucking w Salty behind the plate continues...should we consider him?

He hasn't been much of a contributor on offense for a few years, although his defense is pretty good, IIRC. He did retire last month, turned down the Padres, but might be open to returning in the right situation (after a couple months home with the wife and kids?)

#26 sdcraigo

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Posted 17 April 2011 - 12:22 PM

Catchers are hard to find. Maybe they should have spent the money on John Buck or something but right now their options are Salty, Expo, Michael McKenry (who posted a 732 OPS as a 25 year old in Colorado Springs last year)...


I think the pick up of AAA catcher Michael McKenry could be an important one for the Sox. His throw out rate in 2008 was the best in the minors - better than Max Ramirez, who we almost traded for with Texas, but Mike Lowell failed the physical (as I recall). In any event, Baseball America said the following about McKenry in 2008:

"Michael McKenry: McKenry takes our unofficial Prospect Pistol award, throwing out a greater percentage of runners than any other catching prospect from the 2008 Prospect Handbook. McKenry has always had a strong throwing arm, but he made defensive improvements with his throwing mechanics since being drafted in the seventh round out of Middle Tennessee State in 2006 to become superlative at controlling the running game. McKenry erased 34 percent of base stealers (39 out of 114) in 2007 in the low Class A South Atlantic League and leveraged his plus arm strength and quick release to control the running game as well as any other catching prospect this season."

It further said:

"Today we’ll examine catchers’ ability to control the running game, saving blocking and receiving skills for next time. The catchers listed below appeared in the 2008 Prospect Handbook (with a few exceptions) and had at least 50 stolen bases attempted against them in a full-season league in 2008. The numbers are players’ cumulative statistics from the 2008 season. "Levels" refers to the levels a player appeared in this year, with the level with the most stolen base attempts against listed first.

CAUGHT STEALING PERCENTAGE
# CATCHER ORG LEVELS CS SB ATT PCT
1 McKenry, Michael COL HiA 40 45 85 47.1%
2 Lucroy, Jonathan MIL HiA 56 69 125 44.8%
3 Sandoval, Pablo SF AA 30 38 68 44.1%
4 Williams, Jackson SF LoA 45 57 102 44.1%
5 Derba, Nick STL HiA 34 44 78 43.6%
6 Ramos, Wilson MIN HiA 32 42 74 43.2%
7 Davis, Lars COL LoA 31 41 72 43.1%
8 Hernandez, Francisco CWS HiA 37 49 86 43.0%
9 Wilson, Bobby LAA AAA 24 32 56 42.9%
10 Wagner, Mark BOS AA 34 48 82 41.5%
11 Toregas, Wyatt CLE AAA/AA 25 36 61 41.0%
12 Wieters, Matt BAL HiA/AA 37 55 92 40.2%
13 De La Cruz, Luis STL LoA 20 32 52 38.5%
14 Teagarden, Taylor TEX AAA 25 40 65 38.5%
15 Skelton, James ARI HiA/AA 28 45 73 38.4%
16 Hundley, Nick SD AAA 23 37 60 38.3%
17 Powell, Landon OAK AAA 21 34 55 38.2%
18 Tatum, Craig CIN AA/AAA 35 58 93 37.6%
19 Anderson, Bryan STL AAA 41 68 109 37.6%
20 De Los Santos, Anel LAA AA 48 80 128 37.5%
21 Johnson, Rob SEA AAA 28 47 75 37.3%
22 Jansen, Kenley LAD LoA 35 59 94 37.2%
23 Jeroloman, Brian TOR AA/AAA 26 45 71 36.6%
24 Donaldson, Josh OAK LoA 41 71 112 36.6%
25 Jaramillo, Jason PHI AAA 49 86 135 36.3%
26 Marson, Lou PHI AA 30 53 83 36.1%
27 Castillo, Welington CHC AAA 27 49 76 35.5%
28 Moore, Adam SEA AA 44 80 124 35.5%
29 Clemens, Koby HOU HiA 45 85 130 34.6%
30 Arencibia, J.P. TOR HiA/AA 31 59 90 34.4%
31 McCormick, Michael TB LoA 34 68 102 33.3%
32 Sapp, Maxwell HOU LoA 26 52 78 33.3%
33 Hayes, Brett FLA AA/AAA 27 55 82 32.9%
34 Recker, Anthony OAK AA 54 111 165 32.7%
35 Sammons, Clint ATL AAA 27 58 85 31.8%
36 Santangelo, Lou HOU AA/AAA 34 75 109 31.2%
37 Clevenger, Steve CHC HiA/AA 20 47 67 29.9%
38 Walker, Andrew PIT LoA 21 50 71 29.6%
39 May, Lucas LAD AA 28 70 98 28.6%
40 Exposito, Luis BOS HiA 37 93 130 28.5%
41 Easley, Ed ARI HiA 35 89 124 28.2%
42 Flowers, Tyler CWS HiA 43 112 155 27.7%
43 Britton, Phillip ATL HiA/AA 18 49 67 26.9%
44 Santana, Carlos CLE HiA/AA 34 93 127 26.8%
45 Ashley, Nevin TB HiA 26 74 100 26.0%
46 Salome, Angel MIL AA 31 90 121 25.6%
47 Jaso, John TB AA/AAA 38 113 151 25.2%
48 Montero, Jesus NYY LoA 26 79 105 24.8%
49 Ramirez, Max TEX AA/AAA 19 60 77 24.7%
50 Pena, Francisco NYM LoA 31 103 134 23.1%
51 Thole, Josh NYM HiA 20 69 89 22.5%
52 Romine, Austin NYY LoA 20 78 98 20.4%
53 Canham, Mitch SD HiA 30 131 161 18.6%
54 Mesoraco, Devin CIN HiA 19 90 109 17.4%
55 Thigpen, Curtis TOR AAA 10 52 62 16.1%

http://www.baseballa...

Further, an ESPN/Boston article entitled "Chris Iannetta, Michael McKenry good targets for Red Sox" from 5/2010 - found here:

http://firebrandal.c...

Said the following about McKenry:

"As an aside, while the Sox are looking in the direction of Colorado Springs, they would be wise to do their due diligence and also take a look at Sky Sox catcher Michael McKenry.

An excellent defensive backstop, McKenry also has a good amount of pop to go along with maturing plate discipline. An underrated prospect who deserves far more attention in mainstream prospect coverage, McKenry is, in many ways, a younger version of Iannetta. Possessing a stocky frame, good power for a catcher (though not at Iannetta’s level), and a quick, powerful arm from behind the plate (he has thrown out 40 percent of basestealers in his minor league career), McKenry is a well-balanced backstop who excels in every area of the game.

A nice guy (I and others in the organization can personally attest to this) and still just 25, the Sox could place McKenry atop their catching prospect rankings should they be so lucky to acquire him.

He’ll get his chance in the Majors somewhere and, if it’s in Boston, the Fenway Faithful will love every minute of it."

#27 Lose Remerswaal


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Posted 17 April 2011 - 04:11 PM

SSS, of course, but McKenry (can we call him "Fort"?) has thrown on 2 of 6 BS in Pawtucket, in 5 games. Also 2 Passed Balls.

OPS under .400 in his 16 plate appearances, but a good idea to keep an eye on him

#28 Savin Hillbilly


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Posted 17 April 2011 - 06:53 PM

The only thing that worries me about McKenry is that his offense has declined as he's progressed through the minors. His OPS numbers from A to AAA: .931, .827, .831, .738. None of those numbers are bad, but they're trending in the wrong direction. Until he hit AAA this was mostly a matter of his power tailing off, but in AAA his walk rate has dropped as well, though it's still decent (8.5%). He strikes out a fair amount, but not a ton (percentages mostly in the high teens).

At any rate, If his defense is really all that, it sounds like he has enough offensive potential to be worth keeping an eye on, as Lose said.

#29 BosRedSox5


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Posted 17 April 2011 - 07:38 PM

Kottaras came over from San Diego when they traded David Wells. And Shoppach has had some decent years for other teams but was blocked by Tek back when Tek could actually play baseball.

As for your larger point, it's incredibly hard to draft good catchers, especially if you don't have one of the top few picks to use on someone like Mauer or Posey. And the top draftees don't always pan out; see Ben Davis. Plus, some first-rounders drafted as catchers (Paul Konerko, Jayson Werth) quickly shift to other positions.


I know Kottaras came over from the Wells trade, I'm not sure why I phrased that so poorly. Also, you're right about guys who can hit getting to other positions before long. Even guys who do get to the majors as catchers (Joe Mauer, Victor Martinez, Carlos Delgado, Scott Hatteberg etc.) sometimes either move out of the spot quickly because they're so offensively gifted, get hurt and need to move positions, or have to deal with constant chatter about how they would be better off at 1B or LF.

Still, as RoDaddy pointed out, it's just not been a big priority for Epstein. I like Theo's overall approach where he seems to want the best athletes and puts a focus on SS's and CF's because he thinks they can move to other positions more easily but catcher just hasn't factored into the equation much. I thought it was interesting though, to hear the Sox almost drafted Kurt Suzuki over Dustin Pedroia but they favored the laser show potential from Petey. I think Kurt Suzuki is pretty decent, and the A's swear he's the heart and soul of the team, but we definitely made the right choice bringing in a MVP, Gold Glove winner.

It'd be nice though if we could graduate one of these prospects or bring someone from outside the organization.

#30 JMDurron

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 08:16 AM

He looked rattled and timid and he was jabbing at the ball as a receiver like he was catching knucklers out there.


Between the other performances on the team so far, and Lester's relative success throwing to Salty even without his best "stuff", I think it's best to give Salty at least a full month or two before making a move. He may still be learning the pitching staff (ST might not have been enough time), and could improve as he settles in, understands the pitchers more, and possibly presses less both at the plate and in the field as the team starts to turn things around. The signs of players pressing at the plate seem to be rather recognizable (Carl Crawford, for example), but I wonder if the poor start isn't leading several players to make uncharacteristic mistakes both at the plate and in the field.

If Salty is still this bad at catching and hitting (I mean sub .200 AVG/.600 OPS hitting) when most/all of the other key players are performing closer to expectations, then I'll worry. I have trouble believing that what we've seen in the first 14 games is representative of what the FO saw in Salty when they moved to acquire him. Sure, they might have just screwed up in their evaluation of his defensive capabilities, but I need a bigger sample before I'll believe that. Well, aside from his throwing issues, I'll buy those right now, but we're used to that after the Martinez/Varitek show anyway. I would also expect the Blue Jays to have some inside knowledge of any "tells" our starting pitchers have when it comes to pickoff moves vs throwing to the plate, so John Farrell may be helping the Blue Jays make Salty look even worse than he really is on that front, if you buy into the theory that SBs are on the pitchers as much as they are on the catchers.

#31 Clears Cleaver


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Posted 20 April 2011 - 09:57 PM

Gammo thinks he may only have two weeks left to get better:
http://eye-on-baseba...297882/28697220

#32 smastroyin


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Posted 20 April 2011 - 10:01 PM

Tek isn't exactly inspiring confidence at the plate though.

I'm going to be completely honest. We are paying our starting pitchers something like $50 million this year. If they can't handle the way Jarrod Saltalamacchia holds a glove, they should give every penny of that to the Jimmy Fund. Or the smastroyin fund. Whatever. If you need Jason Varitek to even be effective you shouldn't be earning $17 million a year. (blah blah blah sunk cost etc.)

I realize that this sounds lame, but honestly. One reason you pay guys a ton of money is in the hope that they don't need to be coddled like 2 year olds in order to perform to any reasonable expectation. I honestly still have some faith in Salty, but if the Sox paid these guys so much money only to find out that they need some kind of binky in order to perform then shame on them.

#33 The Long Tater

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 10:17 PM

Tek isn't exactly inspiring confidence at the plate though.



They are both hurting the team. One may be ok, but not both.

#34 Bdanahy14

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 11:06 PM

What makes a good defensive catcher? It's an honest question... because I think we often get into catching defense debates with out any defined criteria for what makes a good catcher, which makes it hard to actually compare.

With Tek, the most common skill discussed is his ability to call a great game - although, what does that actually mean? He studies the opposition more? Knows the batters? Knows the pitchers inside and out? I am sure it is a combination of all those things, but it is impossible to pull those things out and determine how good or bad he is at each. That doesn't mean there is no such thing as a great "game caller"... and it certainly doesn't say anything about the importance of those skills in trying to define what makes a great defensive catcher. It just means that we don't have the ability to do it in a tangible way (that I know of)

And sure, in an ideal world professional pitchers should be able to throw to the glove - but we live far from an idealistic world. There is constant communication between bench and catcher, catcher and pitcher... and that falls on the the guy squatting behind the plate to traffic it all. A good catcher has the ability keep his head in the heat of the moment... remaining objective when calling pitches, calming down the pitcher after a shitty call or a wild pitch, so on and so forth. And while a pitcher will throw to whoever is there, I don't think we should dismiss that they can have significantly more trust and comfort with one catcher over another. And in the age of sport psychologists like Tewks on team payrolls - it's hard to ignore the mental aspect that comes with pitching.

But, we can't isolate those things.

In terms of things we CAN isolate and compare and rank - it feels like most stats I have seen from Tango and the likes use some variation of the following:

-Caught Stealing/Stolen Bases
-Wild Pitches
-Pass Balls
-Throwing Errors
-Fielding Errors
-Blocked balls
-Framed Pitches

But, last year Humberto Quintero was near the top of the league in a lot of these categories - and I don't think Humberto would be the answer to our problems (although I'd take his current .325/.405 line right about now).

At the end of the day, I think the catcher position (from a defensive standpoint) is incredibly hard to draft and develop. The "game calling" part isn't something easy to detect. Sure the right attitude, leadership, confidence, etc. are all the right personality traits to look for - but at this level, most of these guys were leaders on their teams in high school and college.

Drafting catchers comes down to hitting, not defense. The best catchers in the league are the best because of what they do at when the stand to the left or the right of the plate, not behind it. When you have a catcher who produces at the plate... their CS/SB percentages tend to not get as much press (see Victor Martinez).

So then what do you do when you don't have a catcher that swings the stick well? I think Theo had the right idea to start... hope Salty's bat develops and know that the pitching staff trusts Tek as a short term, get through it, back up plan.

But if Salty continues to be a disappointment at the plate, after a certain period of time - Theo needs to look around for a guy that can give you the tangible defensive stats listed. Because Salty doesn't have those either.

#35 BosRedSox5


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Posted 21 April 2011 - 08:06 AM

Gammo thinks he may only have two weeks left to get better:
http://eye-on-baseba...297882/28697220


That article just makes me sad. If Salty doesn't pan out, we have a bunch of junk to choose from. None of the internal candidates wow you and the external ones are a 39 year old way past his expiration date and a 36 year old guy who retired last year.

#36 Philip Jeff Frye


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Posted 21 April 2011 - 08:20 AM

I realize that this sounds lame, but honestly. One reason you pay guys a ton of money is in the hope that they don't need to be coddled like 2 year olds in order to perform to any reasonable expectation. I honestly still have some faith in Salty, but if the Sox paid these guys so much money only to find out that they need some kind of binky in order to perform then shame on them.

I understand the sentiment, but come on, have you been watching professional sports for the last, oh, 30 years? The fact is that we've seen lots of players who have their quirks that need to be attended to in order to put them in the best frame of mind to succeed. On of Tito's strengths has been his ability to handle this stuff over the years - Manny being Manny at the top of the list - without the club turning into too much of a freak show.

One could just as easily say "If the Sox thought that Salty had the talent and leadership ability to deal with the divas and egomaniacs we have on our pitching staff then shame on them."

#37 Smiling Joe Hesketh


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Posted 21 April 2011 - 08:23 AM

They are both hurting the team. One may be ok, but not both.

Salty's catching a ton of crap for his defense, but why is all the negative attention directed at him? No one seems to be noting that Varitek is hitting a robust .050/.136./.050 with the stick this year. I don't care how well he handles a pitching staff, at that level he's killing the club.

I think at some point the Sox must commit to Salty for an extended period of time. Stop worrying about handling the staff, or Varitek's intangibles, or whatever, and just play Salty long enough to make some sort of final decision on him. Because Varitek is cooked. Completely.

At some point we need to focus our attention on the decision to let Martinez walk. The Sox were reported concerned about his ability to catch in 2 or 3 years, but apparently they've replaced him with one guy who can't catch and another who can't hit at all. Might have been a tad short-sighted on their part unless Salty really becomes the player the Sox believe he is.

#38 smastroyin


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Posted 21 April 2011 - 08:25 AM

And sure, in an ideal world professional pitchers should be able to throw to the glove - but we live far from an idealistic world. There is constant communication between bench and catcher, catcher and pitcher... and that falls on the the guy squatting behind the plate to traffic it all. A good catcher has the ability keep his head in the heat of the moment... remaining objective when calling pitches, calming down the pitcher after a shitty call or a wild pitch, so on and so forth. And while a pitcher will throw to whoever is there, I don't think we should dismiss that they can have significantly more trust and comfort with one catcher over another. And in the age of sport psychologists like Tewks on team payrolls - it's hard to ignore the mental aspect that comes with pitching.



Sure, I understand what you are saying. But let me present this in this way. The Red Sox have spent a ton of money building a team. They have spent a substantial portion of that on pitching. If we assume they are not complete morons, then their actions in the offseason lead us to only a few explanations.

- They don't think this factor should be that important
- They don't think Salty is a problem in this regard and have a better handle on it than we do on the internet and watching TV.
- They think Salty has been a problem in this regard but knowing that not only is there some learning curve, but that defense actually really does slump just like everything else, they are willing to be patient.

None of that jibes with what Gammo is writing, which to me feels like a panic move. And also circles around back to - "What exactly were these guys doing in Spring Training that they needed the first two weeks of the season to figure this out."

To me, unless there is some reason to think that even the entire month of April is representative of his future, cutting Salty at this point is kind of a no faith vote in how they approached the situation in the off-season and in spring training, and quite frankly if Salty is the reason their pitching has been terrible so far (FTR I think it is completely overblown) then shame on them for spending $170 million on 24 roster positions and not finding this out sooner.

I think Salty has actually been fine in the tangible defense categories. Sure his throws tail sometime but as far as I have seen there has been little material effect. Bad throws make things look worse but I can think of maybe one where the throw changed a CS into a SB. Unless the Sox get a catcher who throws 150 mph they are going to have trouble with SB because the pitchers (especially the relievers and Beckett) simply don't seem to have any desire to work on actually holding runners on (except Buchholz's nervous tic). This has been a "problem" for at least 5 years but gets magnified every time the pitchers have trouble getting outs, which has been the real problem.

#39 Rudy Pemberton


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Posted 21 April 2011 - 08:26 AM

The idea (mentioned in the article) that they would possibly turn the catching duties over to Tim Federowicz is just ridiculous, and speaks to Gammons continued love of semi-obscure (to most people) Sox prospects (remember the old columns which would mention a power reliever ready to make a difference, whether it was Sunny Kim, Anastacio Martinez, Edgar Martinez, whoever. I also find it unlikely that Bengie Molina would be ready to play, it would take a while to get him up to speed. I think the patience with Salty may be wearing thin and that we will see more Tek, but smas is right in that as frustrating as Salty is there aren't many more appealing options at this point in time.

#40 Bucknahs Bum Ankle


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Posted 21 April 2011 - 08:34 AM

Salty's catching a ton of crap for his defense, but why is all the negative attention directed at him? No one seems to be noting that Varitek is hitting a robust .050/.136./.050 with the stick this year. I don't care how well he handles a pitching staff, at that level he's killing the club.

I think at some point the Sox must commit to Salty for an extended period of time. Stop worrying about handling the staff, or Varitek's intangibles, or whatever, and just play Salty long enough to make some sort of final decision on him. Because Varitek is cooked. Completely.

At some point we need to focus our attention on the decision to let Martinez walk. The Sox were reported concerned about his ability to catch in 2 or 3 years, but apparently they've replaced him with one guy who can't catch and another who can't hit at all. Might have been a tad short-sighted on their part unless Salty really becomes the player the Sox believe he is.

You're really going to call Varitek completely cooked based on 23 PA sample to start the season? After he put up a respectable (for a backup catcher) .766 OPS last season in 123 PA? Victor Martinez is now a DH (without the bat for it) who can't seem to stay healthy. I have no problem at all with the Sox letting him walk.

I'm not sold on Salty yet (how could anyone be?), but I think the potential is still there and the Sox have to at least give him a couple of months to try to get going. 'Tek is a perfectly acceptable backup (not to mention, team leader), and is not going to hitting like my grandmother all season. If they do decide to give up on Salty though, they'll need to acquire someone reasonably competent at catching at the major league level and preferably that can hit a bit. No one in the system is ready.

#41 joe dokes

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Posted 21 April 2011 - 08:56 AM

Tek isn't exactly inspiring confidence at the plate though.

I'm going to be completely honest. We are paying our starting pitchers something like $50 million this year. If they can't handle the way Jarrod Saltalamacchia holds a glove, they should give every penny of that to the Jimmy Fund. Or the smastroyin fund. Whatever. If you need Jason Varitek to even be effective you shouldn't be earning $17 million a year. (blah blah blah sunk cost etc.)

I realize that this sounds lame, but honestly. One reason you pay guys a ton of money is in the hope that they don't need to be coddled like 2 year olds in order to perform to any reasonable expectation. I honestly still have some faith in Salty, but if the Sox paid these guys so much money only to find out that they need some kind of binky in order to perform then shame on them.



Nothing lame about it. When the pitcher gives the catcher credit for the great game, that signifies to me that he is placing blame for the bad games on the catcher as well, even if he doesn't say so. *That's* what's lame.

I'm sure Greg Maddox thought he pitched better to "not Javy Lopez." But he would have won 300 games with Roger LaFrancois behind the plate. The backup C has to play sometime; might as well let it be when the best pitcher around is pitching.

#42 TheoShmeo


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Posted 21 April 2011 - 08:59 AM

I hope the Sox are not of the mind to put their collective heads down and commit to Salty for an extended period of time.

If they are indeed getting consistent feedback from the pitchers that they don't like pitching to Salty, I think that fact, combined with what they're seeing from him at the plate and behind the plate, suggests that they should be doing whatever they can do to replace him.

That doesn't mean that the Sox should replace him just to make a move. But if there's a catcher out there who they can obtain at a decent price and they reasonably believe would be an upgrade, I don't think they should ignore all the inputs since opening day -- and before this season -- so they can just stick it out with Salty for some defined period of time.

No doubt, the on field sample size from 2011 is exceptionally small, but unlike us, the Sox are not limited to what they see on the field. If they make a move, I assume that what they're hearing from their pitching staff will play a significant role.

#43 EddieYost


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Posted 21 April 2011 - 09:14 AM

You're really going to call Varitek completely cooked based on 23 PA sample to start the season? After he put up a respectable (for a backup catcher) .766 OPS last season in 123 PA? Victor Martinez is now a DH (without the bat for it) who can't seem to stay healthy. I have no problem at all with the Sox letting him walk.

I'm not sold on Salty yet (how could anyone be?), but I think the potential is still there and the Sox have to at least give him a couple of months to try to get going. 'Tek is a perfectly acceptable backup (not to mention, team leader), and is not going to hitting like my grandmother all season. If they do decide to give up on Salty though, they'll need to acquire someone reasonably competent at catching at the major league level and preferably that can hit a bit. No one in the system is ready.


I really don't think Tek is the problem. His hitting is mediocre at this point, but he provides value defensively. While I feel like Salty has much more offense potential than Tek at this point, I think the Sox need to figure out if he is a competent catcher. Is he ever going to throw out someone stealing? Is he calling a decent game? Do the pitchers trust him and like throwing to him? I mean, it was one thing to have Victor behind the plate and know that he wasn't great defensively, because he is a middle of the order bat. Salty isn't enough of a force with the bat to overlook him sucking behind the plate indefinitely.

#44 EdRalphRomero


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Posted 21 April 2011 - 09:22 AM

I really don't think Tek is the problem. His hitting is mediocre at this point, but he provides value defensively.


It is a small sample size, but Tek would need a couple of 3 for 4 games in a row to get to mediocre. Right now at the plate he is not mediocre, he is horrible.

#45 EddieYost


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Posted 21 April 2011 - 09:26 AM

It is a small sample size, but Tek would need a couple of 3 for 4 games in a row to get to mediocre. Right now at the plate he is not mediocre, he is horrible.


Right. I don't disagree. I think if he played against lefties mostly, he'd hit a little better. But since he is acting as a caddy for certain pitchers, that isn't going to happen. So maybe I should say..."mediocre at best".

#46 joe dokes

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Posted 21 April 2011 - 09:31 AM

The overall AL CS%% is 27%; the Sox are at 29%;
Have there been so many pickoffs among those that the numbers are off?

#47 URI


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Posted 21 April 2011 - 09:38 AM

Right. I don't disagree. I think if he played against lefties mostly, he'd hit a little better. But since he is acting as a caddy for certain pitchers, that isn't going to happen. So maybe I should say..."mediocre at best".


Well, he has 23 plate appearances, and 16 are against lefties.

These are embarrassingly small sample sizes, also.

#48 URI


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Posted 21 April 2011 - 09:42 AM

Also, this post shouldn't be taken as anything other than informational, because of the minuscule sample:

Varitek has created 23 outs in his 23 PA's.
Saltalamacchia has created 29 outs in 39 PA's.

So in 60% of Salty's PA's, Varitek has created 80% of his outs. If the offense struggles to do anything, you might have to tell Beckett to grow up a bit.

#49 EddieYost


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Posted 21 April 2011 - 09:52 AM

Well, he has 23 plate appearances, and 16 are against lefties.


My assumption is that is because the Sox have faced a high percentage of lefties so far. It seems as if his PT is being dictated more by who is pitching for the Sox rather than the opponent. So I think going forward, he may not continue to face mostly lefties. Of course I could be completely wrong.

#50 Savin Hillbilly


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Posted 21 April 2011 - 09:57 AM

Is he ever going to throw out someone stealing?

"Ever"? Fangraphs has him tied for 3rd in the majors with 6 CS (compared to 14 SB, for a 30% success rate). It's true that a lot of his bad throws have looked really bad. But he's actually been throwing decently if you judge strictly by results.

I'm more concerned about the batterymate issues, and to a lesser extent, the defense behind the dish, where he has looked awkward at times on balls in the dirt.