No matter what happens with Victor Martinez during the offseason, Red Sox GM Theo Epstein says he's "comfortable" with catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia taking the No. 1 position next season behind the plate.
Epstein spoke to the media on Tuesday during the GM meetings in Orlando, according to an ESPN.com report, and said that he expects to have a more experienced catcher on the roster come 2011 but would be OK with Saltalmacchia taking on the primary catching responsibilities.
"We'll probably have a more experienced guy than him on the roster as well, but I think we're comfortable with him in a role anywhere from backup to job share to everyday guy, depending on how the rest of the club shapes up," Epstein said. "We like him. Obviously we liked him from a scouting standpoint. We took an opportunity to buy low after he'd been through a rough period."
Saltalamacchia is coming off another rough period, as he underwent thumb surgery at the end of the 2010 season, but Epstein is willing to take the risk with the 25-year-old switch hitter.
"At some point you've got to give a chance to young players, let them build value, and he's one of those guys," Epstein said. "[Jed] Lowrie is potentially another. [Ryan] Kalish is potentially another. We're not going to have high-profile solutions to all our needs, so it's good to have those alternatives you can turn to."
The Red Sox got a first-hand look at their young crop of up-and-comers throughout the 2010 season. Suffering injuries galore, players like Kalish and Lowrie were able to prove their worth in the big leagues as they received ample playing time, and now it's paying off for the future.
Epstein realizes the risk that comes along with putting so much emphasis on young talent, but he also realizes the reward.
"You may be taking an educated gamble," Epstein said. "But you're also potentially building a lot of value in those guys, giving them an opportunity to put themselves in the core we're developing."