Saltalamacchia signs 3-year, $21 million deal with Marlins

Saltalamacchia signs 3-year, $21 million deal with Marlins
December 3, 2013, 7:45 pm
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Less than 12 hours after the Red Sox signed a one-year deal with his replacement, free agent Jarrod Saltalamacchia agreed to a three-year deal, $21 million deal with the Miami Marlins Tuesday night.

The Sox had come to terms with A.J. Pierzinski to a one-year, $8.25 million contract on Tuesday morning, ending Saltalamacchia's career Boston after three and a half seasons.

For Saltalamacchia, the deal offers some long-term security -- it's the first multi-year deal of his career -- and also allows him to play closer to home. Saltalamacchia grew up in the West Palm Beach area of south Florida and can now spend spring training, and, presumably, the regular season, living at home.

In 2013, Saltalamacchia set a franchise record with 40 doubles, the most for a Red Sox player who served primarily as a catcher.

He also set a career high with .804 OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) while increasing his walk rate.

Additionally, Saltalamacchia gained the respect of the team's veteran pitchers for his ability to call a game and handle the staff. He even improved his throwing, gunning down 21 percent of opposing base-stealers, an improvement over the 18 percent success rate he had in 2012.

But Saltalamacchia struggled mightily at the plate in the post-season, striking out 19 times in 32 at-bats with a .188 batting average. He compounded those offensive issues with some untimely miscues in the field, committing two errors in the World Series.

He was benched for the final three games of the World Series as the Sox elected to go with David Ross. Shortly after the World Series, the Red Sox declined to give him a qualifying offer, something they willingly gave to three other prominent free agents -- Mike Napoli, Jacoby Ellsbury and Stephen Drew.

Saltalamacchia had sought a three-year commitment from the Red Sox, who declined to do so, given that the organization has two promising catching prospects -- Christian Vazquez and Blake Swihart -- who are only a year or two away from being able to contribute at the big league level.

In addition to the Marlins, Saltalamacchia also received strong interest from the Minnesota Twins. But the desire to play near home and a willingness on the part of the Marlins to go to three guaranteed years sealed the deal.