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Saltalamacchia, Lavarnway and the catching logjam


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#1 Tyrone Biggums


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Posted 17 January 2013 - 06:30 PM

Thanks for the promotion!

Salty agreed to a 4.5 million dollar deal today. Possible trade candidate now, I wouldn't deal him for Carp or anyone like that but if Seattle wants to get crazy and offers us someone insane like Walker...I will drive from FL up to MA and bring Salty to Logan myself. Or you keep Salty and trade Lavarnway for a pitching prospect. The more pitching prospects the better.

#2 BoredViewer

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 06:47 PM

I wonder about Lavarnway's value. Last season didn't help... but my sense is that he's still the type of guy some teams wouldn't mind prying away from the Sox if they thought the price was right (which probably means we wouldn't be impressed) or maybe he's the final minor league piece of some bigger deal.

I think you keep him and play him. More likely to improve his value than hurt it.

#3 keyalyn

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 08:40 PM

The Red Sox agreed to a one-year, $4.5 million deal with Jarrod Saltalamacchia, thus avoiding salary arbitration. The contract — which represents a significant raise from the $2.5 million he earned a year ago — is non-guaranteed.

http://fullcount.wee...illion-in-2013/

Non-guaranteed makes it look like they have no desire to allow him to make it to opening day and start over Lavarnway, and if they don't find a trade partner they'll just cut him. Seems a bit harsh for someone who was a 2 WAR catcher last season, but hopefully that is the last resort.

Although with Napoli's hip in the condition it is, he shouldn't see a single inning behind the plate next season. Would it be smarter to keep both Salty and Lavarnway in the organization since Napoli is no longer an option to catch, plus if Napoli goes down Salty would be a potential option at 1B?

#4 BeantownIdaho

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 08:52 PM

I am pretty sure arb contracts are all non-guaranteed....
http://www.ibtimes.c...baseball-705189

#5 keyalyn

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 09:01 PM

Good to know, but this isn't an arb contract. They avoided arbitration and agreed on a deal as opposed to having a hearing. That link only mentions the contract as being non-guaranteed when they actually go to an arbitration panel.

#6 alwyn96

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 09:03 PM

I wonder about Lavarnway's value. Last season didn't help... but my sense is that he's still the type of guy some teams wouldn't mind prying away from the Sox if they thought the price was right (which probably means we wouldn't be impressed) or maybe he's the final minor league piece of some bigger deal.

I think you keep him and play him. More likely to improve his value than hurt it.


Catchers have weird development curves. Varitek didn't really become a full-time starter until he was 26-27. Posada too. Carlos Ruiz didn't start until he was 28, and didn't really break out until he was 30. I'm not sure if Lavarnway has a ton of value in trade at this point, given his poor defensive rep, but he's certainly got time to work on his skills. Unlike other position players, catcher defense actually seems to improve a bit with age (depending on the guy, of course). And if we've learned anything from the last few years, it's that you need plenty of depth to protect against injuries.

#7 absintheofmalaise


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Posted 17 January 2013 - 10:16 PM

I moved the Lavarnway/Salty posts from the second 2013 thread into here.

#8 BeantownIdaho

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 10:41 PM

All players who have not accrued 6 years of service time are in the arbitration process...avoiding an arbitration hearing by agreeing on a contract is still part of the process. Salty is in his last year of arbitration...you can call the contract whatever you want but it's still within his arbitration years and it's a non guaranteed contract. Phil Hughes avoided arbitration today and recieved a 7.15 million non-guaranteed contract, same with Joba Chamberlain, Robertson, etc. Feel free to look them up. So don't be surprised when Ellsbury avoids arbitration and gets his 1 year non-guaranteed contract - just like the 1 year non guaranteed contract he signed last year. Could Boston cut him? Yes they could but it is VERY unlikely they would do that.

#9 keyalyn

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 12:31 PM

Players who have not accrued 6 years are arbitration eligible, meaning they can go to an arbitration panel if they don't agree to a contract beforehand. If they do agree to a contract, they avoid arbitration, as said in my first post here. Arbotration isn't the situation all players are in, but the process they go through if they can't agree on a contract. The link you posted just mentioned players who have gone through an arbitration panel.

I agree it is extremely unlikely they they would cut someone as valuable as Salty (and I would be shocked if it came to that), but it seems like they'd prefer to do that over giving him extended playing time over Lavarnway. Regardless, even if the non-guaranteed means nothing and is just a formality, the greater point is what should they do with the catcher situation.

#10 BeantownIdaho

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 08:51 PM

"Non-guaranteed makes it look like they have no desire to allow him to make it to opening day and start over Lavarnway, and if they don't find a trade partner they'll just cut him. Seems a bit harsh for someone who was a 2 WAR catcher last season, but hopefully that is the last resort."

Your comment here seems to indicate that you believe there is great significance in "non guaranteed" when in fact there is not since all of them are "non guaranteed" as I have tried to point out. Isn't it interesting that 7 sox players signed today to non-guaranteed contracts including Ellsbury
http://boston.redsox...5601722810-1022

"I agree it is extremely unlikely they they would cut someone as valuable as Salty (and I would be shocked if it came to that), but it seems like they'd prefer to do that over giving him extended playing time over Lavarnway. Regardless, even if the non-guaranteed means nothing and is just a formality, the greater point is what should they do with the catcher situation."

Wait...you went from being concerned about the non guaranteed contract and that he might be getting cut to being shocked if he did get cut. Well one thing we can agree on is that they should keep Salty around. Napoli is not going to be playing much catcher with the hip...Lav needs more work at AAA...which leaves Salty and Ross to handle the catching duties. Although 35, Ross does not have the miles that the average 35 year old catcher has having been a back up and appearing in just over 500 MLB games and a little over 300 minor league games since 2002. Unless a team really needs catching and gives the Sox a smokin' trade then he stays in Boston IMO.

#11 keyalyn

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 10:27 PM

Your comment here seems to indicate that you believe there is great significance in "non guaranteed" when in fact there is not since all of them are "non guaranteed" as I have tried to point out. Isn't it interesting that 7 sox players signed today to non-guaranteed contracts including Ellsbury
http://boston.redsox...5601722810-1022


It has apparently become more common with the new CBA, but I am pretty sure it is not something given every time a player avoids arbitration. I have not seen any indication that would be the case it is automatically given to everyone. The only time "non-guaranteed" is mentioned in that first link you posted is when referring to the one year deal given by a panel, not a contract agreed upon by the team and the player to avoid arbitration. Two completely different situations. Unfortunately official rules and regulations about the arbitration process have been hard to find, so I can't really know for sure. They clearly aren't as significant as they have been in the past, but smarter men than I have made the same mistake this offseason.

Wait...you went from being concerned about the non guaranteed contract and that he might be getting cut to being shocked if he did get cut. Well one thing we can agree on is that they should keep Salty around. Napoli is not going to be playing much catcher with the hip...Lav needs more work at AAA...which leaves Salty and Ross to handle the catching duties. Although 35, Ross does not have the miles that the average 35 year old catcher has having been a back up and appearing in just over 500 MLB games and a little over 300 minor league games since 2002. Unless a team really needs catching and gives the Sox a smokin' trade then he stays in Boston IMO.


I said it was likely the last resort, but considering the news about Napoli's hip it may be smarter to keep him them all in the organization. At no point did I say I expected it to happen, nor was I concerned about it being a significant possibility. I think Lavarnway has little left to prove in AAA and would love to see him start up in Boston, but I agree that the smartest move would be to keep them all unless a really good trade develops.

#12 Worcester Ruby Legs

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 11:05 PM

Thanks for the promotion!

Salty agreed to a 4.5 million dollar deal today. Possible trade candidate now, I wouldn't deal him for Carp or anyone like that but if Seattle wants to get crazy and offers us someone insane like Walker...I will drive from FL up to MA and bring Salty to Logan myself. Or you keep Salty and trade Lavarnway for a pitching prospect. The more pitching prospects the better.


While I agree that Salty's contract makes him a viable trade chip, I don't understand how you think any team would trade their #2 prospect for him. Seattle would have to be insane in the membrane to trade a blue chipper like Walker for Salty. And I agree, I would give Salty a ride to Logan for a deal like that. But in reality, that deal wouldn't even be approved in MLB the Show. Salty's contract makes him a valuable trade chip, especially as spring training goes on. But in reality, a player of Salty's caliber brings back a major league reliever or mid level prospect. Walker is a top of the line prospect that you hope to get back in a deal involving a player like Ellsbury.

#13 Sampo Gida

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 11:32 PM

Based on last year, I think Lavarnway starts the season with the PawSox and Salty/Ross start the season with the Red Sox. If Lavarnway has a good first half, Salty might be trade bait at the trading deadline and Lavarnway comes up and takes over for him when he is dealt.

Of course, if Farrell thinks Salty is too much of a liability behind the plate in terms of intangibles that go into being a good receiver (pitch calling, framing, etc), then maybe
they go with Lavarnway, but I doubt this happens.

#14 alwyn96

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 03:26 AM

Of course, if Farrell thinks Salty is too much of a liability behind the plate in terms of intangibles that go into being a good receiver (pitch calling, framing, etc), then maybe they go with Lavarnway, but I doubt this happens.


I have a totally unfair and unprovable suspicion that Salty was partly responsible for the Red Sox pitching struggles last year. I'm not sure Lavarnway would be much better, but I really wonder about Salty's abilities behind the plate. I think Ross may bring a lot more to the table defensively.

Edited by alwyn96, 19 January 2013 - 03:41 PM.


#15 BeantownIdaho

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 05:52 PM

Ross brings a lot more behind the plate defensively and has a much better arm (and better throw out percentage). His offense isn't too bad either - he has put up some decent numbers in years where he played regularly or semi-regularly. I wouldn't be surprised to see Ross get a lot of time. As I mentioned in another post, he has way less miles on him than the average 35 year old catcher.

#16 threecy

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 07:49 AM

I have a totally unfair and unprovable suspicion that Salty was partly responsible for the Red Sox pitching struggles last year.

Take a look at Lester's splits last season...there's enough there to frame a reasonable hypothesis that at least in his instance, his performance was terrible with Salty behind the plate (otherwise, Lester's season was rather good).

#17 keyalyn

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 10:01 PM

Buchholz too. When Salty caught him he was awful (6.30ERA, .935OPS), when Lavarnway and Shoppach caught him he was great (3.79/.629 and 3.23/.622). I am sure others pitched well to Salty, but pretty damning when the top two starters have such massive splits.

#18 Hugh G Rection

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 07:29 AM

You can't simply cut Salty. It would be a huge grievance and the player's association would jump all over you. The only reason you could potentially cut a player is if the player has a "catastrophic deterioration of skills," meaning a player has simply lost all ability to be a major leaguer. That isn't happening with Salty. The non-gaurentee portion is infact added to most pre-arbitration contracts its a minor technicality and absolutely nothing should be read into it.

Whether the contract makes a trade more likely or not is the real question.

Seattle does seem like a match and I'd offer Salty for Smoak and a prospect. Stash Smoak at AAA as Napoli insurance.

Edited by Hugh G Rection, 22 January 2013 - 07:30 AM.


#19 rglenmt

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 09:46 AM

It is so interesting, the comments now about Salty not being what Theo hyped him to be, reminds of the hype regarding Adrian Gonzalez, while he might still be the great hiiter projected, the Sox may well have better off building from within with Anthony Rizzo. Salty, not having the defensive skills and only a tool, HR hitter, and Adrian Gonzalez, maybe not the leader needed, the Red Sox reinforced the thinking, teams are usually better off not chasing FAs and big names in trades. When we see if John Farrell places the success in the hands of veteran David Ross we wiil be reminded how much a veteran catcher, previously we experienced VTek's so many contributions and how the staff responds to Ross's leadership. That, IMHO, wlll demonstrate how important Ben thinks a solid cather is.

respectfully submitted,

rglenmt f/k/a pudgefick

#20 Stanley Steamer

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 11:25 AM

I'd agree that the Sox' first choice would be to ship Salty out in a trade, but they are likely not seeing anything of value for him, so they'll keep him until they do. I think Lavarnway and Ross would be fine to open the season, but without a trade, the former will likely start in AAA. It's likely most teams would be asking for Lavarnway, given his potential and cost control. I'd guess the Sox would be only be looking at packaging him with a few others for a bigger prize. This situation will most likely be sorted out after they start playing, and team's needs are more clearly defined.

#21 Stanley Steamer

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 10:56 PM

Mariners sign Ronny Paulino for backup C, making them far less likely to take on one of ours in trade.

#22 Brosnan27

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 11:47 PM

I know he's denied have any conversations about it, but I think if anything Salty provides insurance as a possible first baseman if Napoli has lingering issues.

 

If Napoli is healthy and playing regularly, Salty becomes a trade candidate mid-season.


Edited by Brosnan27, 24 January 2013 - 11:48 PM.


#23 OnBaseMachine

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Posted 09 July 2013 - 09:27 AM

Bump

 

Posting this interview of Salty by Laurila via Fangraphs. LOTS of information, fun read. Highly recommended.

 

http://www.fangraphs...saltalamacchia/

 

I was particularly impressed by the discussion of using data to think through a batter's approach when calling pitches. Not what I expected, which is to say, I didn't know what to expect. I am a bit concerned about the small sample sizes upon which they make some decisions, but it sounds really interesting - probably worth looking at in more detail. 

 

And ALL of this is to say that I love baseball, down to every last thought about every last pitch.

 

Edit: I can't get my head around this - it's the kind of insight I want to read every single day, even if I can't relate to it at all:

 

“Some guy throw a heavier ball; it’s literally heavier. For whatever reason — I don’t know if it’s better backspin, more of a downward angle, or what it is — the ball is heavier. You can actually feel that when it hits your glove. Alex Wilson throws a heavy ball, as opposed to someone like Taz. For some reason it’s just different. I’ve never been able to explain it, but some guys just throw a heavier ball.”


Edited by OnBaseMachine, 09 July 2013 - 10:09 AM.


#24 Sampo Gida

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Posted 09 July 2013 - 07:56 PM

You used to get more insight, I think players don't talk as much as they used to, or reporters don't know what their readers want.  The fact that some players throw a heavy ball as opposed to a lighter ball has been around forever for example, the fact that it is new to some kind of supports my point.

 

I think Salty has done a good job this year calling pitches, but maybe the pitchers are making him look better by executing.  I know Tito mentioned in his book they used to have to help Salty by calling pitches from the bench at times, I wonder if this is still the case.

 

Would love to know who called that pitch to Ibanez last night on 0-2.  Why the ball was over the plate is curious. good count to get him to chase.  But as Salty said, his job is to call pitches the pitcher can execute even if it is not necessarily the best pitch for that hitter, and if he does not the pitcher can call him off.

 

Anyways, hoping Salty can avoid his typical 2nd half slump.  Personality wise he is the kind of guy you hope they keep around, and if he has a strong 2nd half they may be more likely to keep him around.


Edited by Sampo Gida, 09 July 2013 - 07:59 PM.





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