Buried in this New York Post piece about Andres Torres and Mike Pelfrey (short version: both will be non-tendered, possibly brought back cheaper) is an interesting note about Jarrod Saltalamacchia, currently catcher for the Boston Red Sox.
Dan Martin wrote:
The Red Sox could look to move Jarrod Saltalamacchia after signing free-agent catcher David Ross, and the Mets may listen if Saltalamacchia is on the trade market.
With the Mets looking for an upgrade over Josh Thole, the 27-year-old Saltalamacchia would fit. He is coming off a season in which he hit a career-high 25 home runs, although he also struck out 139 times.
But the price for Saltalamacchia would also be high, perhaps Jon Niese. The left-hander just finished the first year of a five-year deal.
Let’s take these component parts, one at a time.
Could the Red Sox be looking to move Saltalamacchia? Absolutely. But Ross and Saltalamacchia aren’t necessarily a poor fit. Ross is righty, but has actually hit righties better than lefties in his career, and more so in recent seasons. Saltalamacchia, a switch-hitter, is really a lefty-masher. So if the Red Sox believe Ryan Lavarnway, their top catching prospect, needs more time, it isn’t a bad fit to have in place. Should Lavarnway force his way up, the Red Sox can clearly get something in return for either or both of Ross/Saltalamacchia.
Next up is just how Saltalamacchia fits with the Mets. Well, if Josh Thole returns, the Mets need a lefty masher. So that fit is a good one. But to truly work, Thole needs to hit righties the way he did prior to 2012, when he didn’t hit anyone or anything after returning from a concussion. If Thole doesn’t return, the Mets need to find a lefty to complement Saltalamacchia.
And that brings us to trading Jon Niese, a frontline starting pitcher signed to a team-friendly deal for years, in exchange for a Saltalamacchia heading into his final arbitration year after 2012, followed by free agency after 2013. Is that really a good use of Niese, trading him for half a starting catcher? Seems less ideal than keeping Niese, or dealing him for a full starting player, or for top prospects. Way down the list, for me, anyway.
So can the Mets get Saltalamacchia? Maybe. Should they? Sure, if it costs a lot less than Jon Niese.