The Miami Marlins have agreed to sign catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia to a three-year, $21 million contract, as first reported by Juan C. Rodriguez of the Miami Sun-Sentinel. According to Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald, the deal will pay Saltalamacchia $6 million in 2014, $7 million in 2015 and $8 million in 2016, and is pending a physical.
Saltalamacchia spent the last three and a half years with the Red Sox, who had interest in a reunion with him. After deciding not to tender him a qualifying offer or offer him a contract longer than two years, the team shifted their focus elsewhere, and began to pursue other free agent catchers, including Carlos Ruiz, Brian McCann and A.J. Pierzynski. They decided to sign Pierzynski to a one-year, $8.5 million contract on Monday morning, effectively ending Saltalamacchia's tenure in Boston.
In addition to the Red Sox and Marlins, Saltalamacchia drew significant interest from the Twins and Rangers this offseason. Both teams remain in search of a catcher, and will look to the trade market in the upcoming weeks in case players become available. So far this offseason, catchers to find new homes include Saltalamacchia (Marlins), McCann (Yankees), Pierzynski (Red Sox), Ryan Hanigan (Rays), Dioner Navarro (Blue Jays) and Brayan Pena (Reds). Remaining options include Kurt Suzuki, John Buck, and the recently non-tendered J.P. Arencibia.
In 121 games for the World Champion Red Sox in 2013, Saltalamacchia hit .273 with 14 HR and 65 RBI, showing an increase in average along with a decrease in power. For his seven-year major league career, the 28-year old has hit .246 with 78 HR and 275 RBI in 595 games while establishing himself as a solid defensive backstop.