Jarrod Saltalamacchia is the top dog.
Now that Brian McCann has signed with the Yankees, Saltalamacchia is the best free-agent catcher available, and it sounds like the Red Sox will have company as his market heats up.
According to The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo, Saltalamacchia is very much on the Twins’ radar as they try to replace Joe Mauer, who is shifting to first base on a full-time basis in 2014. This isn’t the first time that Minnesota has been linked to Saltalamacchia, as ESPN 1500’s Darren Wolfson reported earlier this month that the Twins had expressed preliminary interest in the 28-year-old backstop.
McCann became the second big name catcher to come off the open market over the weekend when he signed a five-year, $85 million contract with the Yankees. Carlos Ruiz re-signed with the Phillies for three years and $26 million. Cafardo speculates that Saltalamacchia could land somewhere in the range of $30 million over three years.
Saltalamacchia is coming off his best season yet. He hit .273 with 14 home runs and 65 RBIs in 2013. The 14 blasts were down from 25 in 2012, but his on-base percentage and OPS climbed to .338 and .804, respectively. Saltalamacchia showed an ability to drive the ball to all fields this past season, which resulted in 40 doubles — a single-season record for a Red Sox catcher.