The Red Sox really didn’t want to go to three years on a catcher.
The Red Sox reportedly agreed to a one-year deal with A.J. Pierzynski on Tuesday, all but ending Jarrod Saltalamacchia‘s stint in Boston. According to subsequent reports, Saltalamacchia and the Marlins agreed to a three-year deal, something that the Red Sox were reportedly unwilling to offer the 28-year-old.
According to WEEI.com’s Alex Speier, the Red Sox and Saltalamacchia had discussed a two-year deal that included incentives that would have allowed it to top out at around $18 million. Saltalamacchia’s desire for a three-year contract reportedly was absolute, though, and he ultimately decided to sign with Miami on a three-year pact worth a reported $21 million.
Speier suggests that there’s a strong chance that Saltalamacchia would have returned to the Red Sox if they offered the same three-year, $21 million contract that the catcher is reportedly getting from the Marlins. But the Sox were steadfast on limiting their offers to free-agent catchers to two years so that prospects Christian Vazquez and Blake Swihart have clear paths to the majors when ready.
The Red Sox reportedly were willing to go beyond two years for Brian McCann, who ended up signing a five-year, $85 million deal with the Yankees, as he represented a catching option that could eventually transition to first base or DH based on his offensive production. Saltalamacchia and Carlos Ruiz, who re-signed with the Phillies, were seen strictly as catchers.
Pierzynski’s one-year deal with the Red Sox is reportedly worth $8.25 million. David Ross will serve as Boston’s backup catcher in 2014, and both aging veterans will become free agents after the season.