Jarrod Saltalamacchia has certainly developed as a player since arriving in Boston at the 2010 trade deadline. John Farrell thinks that development could continue with the Red Sox in 2014.
Saltalamacchia is a free agent who — unlike Jacoby Ellsbury, Mike Napoli and Stephen Drew — did not receive a $14.1 million qualifying offer from the Red Sox. Farrell said on WEEI’s Salk & Holley Show on Wednesday that the decision not to extend such an offer doesn’t mean that the Red Sox aren’t interested in re-signing Saltalamacchia. In fact, according to Farrell, there’s plenty of interest in continuing the relationship.
“Absolutely he has a future here. We’re engaging with him and I know [Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington] has talked to his agent frequently here — not just as free agent season has opened up, but throughout the course of the remainder of the year and through the postseason,” Farrell said Wednesday. “In this case, if people are understanding of the qualifying offer, it doesn’t put a drag on his market. In some ways, it may benefit Salty a little bit more than the other three guys where you’ve got to give up a first-round draft choice.”
Since the Red Sox did not extend a qualifying offer to Saltalamacchia, he is free to sign elsewhere without the signing team having to relinquish a compensatory draft pick. Saltalamacchia could still return to Boston in 2014, though, and Farrell sounds ready to welcome another season of a Salty-David Ross catching tandem.
“Salty had a great year when you consider how he turned around to, I think, become a more complete player,” Farrell said. “A guy that went from 24 home runs and high-teens doubles to 41 doubles and 13, 14 home runs, he raised his average about 40 points. He used the whole field a whole lot more consistently. He did a great job incorporating the game plan that [pitching coach] Juan Nieves and [bullpen coach] Dana Levangie put out and constructed for him. He had a very good year, and his best year as a player is also timely as he enters free agency.”
Saltalamacchia hit just .188 (6-for-32) with 19 strikeouts during the postseason and was eventually unseated by Ross as the starter for Games 4, 5 and 6 of the World Series. But Saltalamacchia put together a strong 2013 overall, and the 28-year-old catcher could be in high demand on the open market as a result.