It won't take long for Jarrod Saltalamacchia to be playing again. The former Marlins catcher has agreed to a minor-league deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks, according to a report from our Chris Cotillo. The deal was first reported by Nick Piecoro of AZ Central.
According to Cotillo, the deal includes a June 1st opt-out date that will allow Saltalamacchia to elect free agency if he is not with Arizona's major-league club at that time. He is expected to go to Triple-A Reno to get some at-bats before joining the major-league team sometime in the next couple weeks, so his opt-out clause will likely become a moot point by the end of the month.
The Marlins will pay the $14+ million remaining on Saltalamacchia's contract through next season, with Arizona only picking up the prorated portion of the major-league minimum salary if Saltalamacchia is on their major-league roster.
Saltlamacchia, 30, was in the second season of a three-year, $21 million contract when he was released by the Marlins. It was a struggle for Saltalamacchia to start the season, hitting .069 in his first 29 at-bats.
He was quickly replaced by prospect J.T. Realmuto, who was able to hit .250, good enough to replace Saltalamacchia.
It came as quite the surprise when the Marlins first designated Saltalamacchia for assignment and then the situation turned more sour when a trade couldn't be worked out.
The D-Backs are a perfect fit for Saltalamacchia, as they have some catching problems of their own. Tuffy Gosewisch has had a rough start to 2015, sporting a .458 OPS in 72 at-bats.
While Saltalamacchia is having his share of troubles behind the plate, he is known for swinging a good bat. For his career, Saltalamacchia averages a .310 OBP and a .725 OPS per season. Both of those numbers would immediately make the D-Backs better behind the plate.
Saltalamacchia should get the opportunity to play right away and be able to work through whatever made him struggle in the early going. It's a low-risk, high reward move for the D-Backs, but a move that will pay off big time if Saltalamacchia can return to his old hitting ways.