clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Diamondbacks to sign Jarrod Saltalamacchia

New, comments

As first reported by Nick Pieocoro, it looks like the Diamondbacks have made a move to address the catcher's situation, picking up Jarrod Saltalamacchia, recently designated for assignment by the Marlins.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Saltalamacchia (whom, for purposes of brevity, I will refer to as "Sal" hereafter!) had had a wretched start to the season with Miami, having hit just .069 in nine games with the Marlins, and was DFA'd barely a year into a three year, $21 million contract signed in December 2013. There was apparently some interest in the veteran catcher, with three other teams apparently being interested - the Royals, Indians and Mariners - but it seems that no deal could be worked out with them. As a result, Miami will pay Sal the full amount remaining on the deal (around $14m), with the D-backs not sending anything back in return.

Steve Gilbert Tweets that he believes this is a minor-league deal, which will offer the team more flexibility in terms of bringing Sal up. It will be interesting to see how the team handles things, because Rule 5 pick Oscar Hernandez is likely getting close to coming off the DL, and he needs to be found a spot on the 25-man roster, or be sent back to his original club. Though to improve their chances of retaining him,  I can certainly imagine the Diamondbacks seeking to keep Hernandez out for as long as possible: "Dammit, that looks like a bruise. Back to the treatment room with you, Oscar!"

It's certainly true that Arizona badly needs some offensive help at the catcher's position. Even after Tuffy Gosewisch's three-hit game in the nightcap yesterday, our catchers have a .526 OPS and the resulting wRC+ of 46 ranks 26th in the majors. Gosewisch and Jordan Pacheco at the position overall, have been worse than replacement level (-0.2 fWAR), largely due to the offensive shortcomings. Tuffy still hasn't had an extra-base hit this year, and his .458 OPS ranks 222nd out of the 229 major-league players with 70 or more PAs this season. Though it's still not the worst on the Diamondbacks, since Nick Ahmed's .420 comes in 225th!

But will Sal help? His first year in Miami was better; he hit .220 but had 11 home-runs, which got his OPS up to the dizzy heights (compared to what we're used to!) of .680. He is a switch-hitter, which may help, since over his career he has hit better from the left-hand side: his OPS there is .775; it's .596 from the other edge of the plate. Even if he hits righties as he did in 2014, his OPS there was .705, which would certainly be an improvement. The downside is, Sal is widely regarded as a defensive butcher, e.g. a CS% of 22%. I'm concerned what impact his game-calling may have on our rotation who have, overall, pitched better than expected so far, with an ERA slightly below NL average.