Tigers sign Jarrod Saltalamacchia to one-year deal

While the Tigers finished up their starting pitching needs by finalizing a deal for Mike Pelfrey, they added a veteran backup catching candidate, signing Jarrod Saltalamacchia to a one-year contract.

The deal will pay the Major League minimum to Saltalamacchia, who will make $8 million as part of the three-year contract he signed with the Marlins two years ago. The 30-year-old will go to Spring Training and compete for a roster spot alongside James McCann, general manager Al Avila said Sunday evening from baseball’s Winter Meetings.

The Marlins released Marlins last May after a 2-for-29 start to his season. He finished the year in Arizona, where he hit .251 (43-for-171) for the Diamondbacks with 14 doubles, eight home runs, 23 RBIs and an .805 OPS. Combine the two stops, and he hit .225 with a .745 OPS, around his same OPS for most of his big-league career before a standout 2013 season in Boston not only earned him a World Series ring but propelled him into free agency.

Though Saltalamacchia is a switch-hitter, the bulk of his damage this past season came batting left-handed, which is what appealed to the Tigers as they pondered the idea of an another backup catching option besides Bryan Holaday.

“The opportunity came to be able to sign Jarrod,” Avila said. “Obviously we like his pop from the left side. We think that that is going to play. So we’ll see how that turns out in Spring Training. He’s a veteran guy. He’s been to the World Series.”

Saltalamacchia can also play first base, but his value is behind the plate. And unless the Tigers decided to carry three catchers, he’ll compete with Holaday for the second catcher spot, filling the void left by Alex Avila’s loss to the White Sox. It was more a luxury than a need.

“In our to-do list, it’s on there,” Avila said. “I can’t say it was a top priority, because we like Holaday. And I’ll be perfectly honest with you: Every year, we always look for that kind of combination. It’s difficult to find, and it seems like every year we’ve tried to do something and we couldn’t. This year it kind of fell into place with Jarrod, and we think it’s pretty good.”

31 Comments

Will his name fit on the back of his jersey?

Avila is back in the bargain bin.

This was a great move! Gives us a much better option than Holiday as a backup catcher and some pop on the bench while the Marlins pay for it. Can’t wait to see what this week will bring us by way of bullpen depth. Anyone think there’s any truth to the rumor that the Tiger’s have not yet thrown in the towel on Soria?

Ho-Hum

we’ll see. sometimes these small moves can payoff. 805 OPS for a C, although in a hitter’s park, stands out. they only had 2 catchers on the 40 man, so makes sense to add one.

The Hot Stove sucks so far. Looking forward to a .500 season if all goes well. Unless something dramatic happens, or the guys stay healthy and have career years, the Tigers are in the toilet and not in the playoffs..

Unless Avila is cheaping out by Ilitch’s design, his spending approach will cost him his job. And that can happen regardless if he is the designated scapegoat.

Did someone say great move??? This is a yard sale-type approach to assembling a championship team from an organization that had the second worst record in the AL last season.

The Bosox finished last in their division 3 of the last 4 seasons. DD will put that team in the playoffs this year.

A little patience is in order here, it’s only December 6th. This team certainly is in need of some significant aquisitions and I for one believe they are coming. In the meantime smaller moves like this to create some depth are part of some important fine-tuning. To be proclaiming such doom and gloom at this point is simply ridiculous!

Well, if you want to get personal about opinions, then patiently take your opinion and stick it up your “ridiculous” ass!

And, it is reality not fiction. If you see it as gloom and doom, so be it. Get your head out of your ridiculous ass.

Your approach, not your opinion, is junk. But, since you insulted me think about this. The Tigers finished last in 2015. A the start of the year, Cespedes was in LF. Price was at the top of the rotation. Nathan was the closer. Soria was the set-up. Avila was the backup catcher. Greene and Simon were nearly unbeatable in April and carried the Tigers to the best record in baseball. Now, Cespedes has been replaced by Maybin. Price has been replaced by Zimmermann. Nathan/Soria have been replaced by K-Rod. Avila has been replaced by minimum wage Salty. Simon and his 13 wins have been replaced by Pelfrey and his 6 wins and $16/2M salary..

Darlene, let’s keep it friendly!

What a “ridiculous ” thing to say! I’m pissed and you are not my daddy.

Todd, I’m sorry. I took out my anger on you..

Darline, I woke up this morning to read this chain. it is obvious from your heated response to me that I offended you and for that I am deeply sorry. I love this blog and reading the incredible insightful stuff that flows from here everyday and the last thing I would want to do would be to offend anyone. I simply wanted to state my opinion that I felt that some larger, very needed moves were yet to come. As I read back over what I wrote above after a a good nights sleep, I can clearly see how you felt personally attacked (“insulted” was the word you used), and I am deeply sorry for that. That was not my intent whatsoever when I wrote what I did. Again, I am sorry and will be much more careful to express opinion in a way that encourages and promotes dialogue as opposed to manner’s that can come across as insulting and attacking. You obviously have a ton of incredibly insightful opinions as evidenced in the myriad of posts you have left here and I know I’m not the only one who has been consistently challenged and enlightened by your thoughts. Thanks for sharing them here and again please forgive me for having offended you!!

KC signed Soria? I thought they were a smaller market team than the Free Wheelin’ Tigers of Illitch.
I hope we start to see more money than mouth.

Mark Lowe. Surprise!

GuateTiger, Thank you for your thoughtful remarks. I understand baseball takes a rear seat to the more important matters that happen in this world. But I love the game and I love the Tigers. In retrospect, I probably reacted much too strongly to your initial comments out of a combination of frustration and oversensitivity. I feel at fault in that regard. Thank you once again for your mannerly response.

Same back at ya Darline!! Thanks for your kind response in return!!

Let’s step off the cliff. Worrying about a 3rd string catcher is a complete waste of time. He was cheap and low risk. Seems like a good signing to me. Let’s not kid ourselves we can still be competitive but we need to restock. But, in my opinion it needs to be careful and balanced approach.

Adams of MLBTR reported the Tigers are looking at Cespedes and Gordon. I am starting to feel hopeful again.

I have no hope of signing Cespedes or Gordon. In fact, I’d rather have more pitching. Just don’t believe they will go over the luxury tax.

But, I have been known to be wrong.

I would prefer Gordon to Cespedes. I think Yoenis is a remarkable athlete but I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. Seems to be moody almost distant and uneven in his play. Gordon is consistent, better fielder and a LHB. And a winner.
I too, don’t expect either one to be signed by the “big spend-talking” owner (but seemingly frugal front office).

I think both of those players are going to be signed 6+ years. And the numbers would probably be fine for the next 3-4 years. But what do you do in 5-6 years when you have 4 or so players taking up 80%+ of the payroll and unable to perform at that level anymore?

Or what happens if Cespedes signs that big deal and starts posting Robbie Cano type numbers?

I so long for “Gum Time”. Actually I long for Al Kaline in RF. An old man can dream can’t he?

If Saltalamacchia can put up anywhere near .800 OPS, he’s also great insurance when/if VMart or Miggy need a break, and possibly a good PH option.

Low risk, low cost move that might work out well.

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