Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington did a good job this offseason. He blended a repertory company of solid, professional, “good clubhouse guys” with the survivors of the Bobby Valentine era, and in doing so he didn’t have to give up any of the organization’s top minor league kids. We all know what’s happening here: The Red Sox are planning a “bridge year,” even if nobody with the club is saying so. You’ll see a decent club in 2013, and maybe the boys will be “scrappy underdogs,” as Larry Lucchino has been predicting. The wake-up call is for 2014. That’s when Jackie Bradley Jr. is in center field, Xander Bogaerts is at shortstop, Matt Barnes is in the rotation and “veteran” Will Middlebrooks is an American League All-Star. But will Jarrod Saltalamacchia be part of the reborn Red Sox? The likable Salty is on board to be a Red Sox catcher for 2013, having agreed last month to a one-year, $4.5 million contract. He continues to be a work in progress as he closes in on his 28th birthday (May 2), and there are those who believe he’ll settle in as a dependable big league catcher. And though he hit just .222 with a .288 on-base percentage last year, he also socked 25 home runs in 405 at-bats. And power-hitting catchers don’t grow on trees. But I’ll leave all that for the stat guys. The issue here isn’t so much Saltalamacchia, but another catcher on the depth chart, Ryan Lavarnway. The Yale-educated catcher hasn’t shown much in pieces of two seasons with the Red Sox, and, like Salty, he is on the work-in-progress ledger.
Catching a taste of baseball reality
Boston Herald | Feb 16