Saying goodbye is never easy. Just ask Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
Saltalamacchia just inked a three-year, $21 million contract with the Marlins. He’ll have an opportunity to play a major role on a club that’s rebuilding around its surplus of young starting pitching. Leaving Boston was still difficult, though, as Saltalamacchia was hoping for a chance to return to the Red Sox following the club’s World Series victory.
“It’s real tough. You don’t want to just go to different teams, regardless of if it’s free agency, trades, it doesn’t matter,” Saltalamacchia said on WEEI’s Mut & Merloni on Tuesday. “You don’t want to continue to move around, especially if you’ve got a wife and kids. … I was upset. I was trying to get something done with [the Red Sox] for a couple of years now. I was open to negotiations during the season [and] spring training. It didn’t matter.
“But, they just wanted to wait, and I kind of had no choice but to test the free-agent market, and unfortunately, I’m not coming back. But I get a chance to go and be with a lot of young, good pitchers that are really just starting to begin their careers, and it’s going to be exciting to be a part of it.”
Saltalamacchia joined the Red Sox at the trade deadline in 2010 and soon became the club’s starting catching while playing alongside Jason Varitek in 2011. He has since made strides both offensively and from a game-calling standpoint, with his best work to date coming this past season. The Red Sox reportedly didn’t want to offer any catchers a three-year deal, though, as both Christian Vazquez and Blake Swihart are coming up through the system. That spelled the end of Salty’s tenure in Boston.
“Three years is big,” Saltalamacchia said. “You don’t want to have to go back into the free-agent market after two years. … It had something to do with it, but ultimately, it was a decision that me and my family had to make.”
Saltalamacchia was officially introduced by the Marlins on Monday. The 28-year-old will now return to the National League in the hopes of building on a strong 2013 season in which he posted a career-high .804 OPS along with 14 homers and 65 RBIs.