Jarrod Saltalamacchia's journey through free agency has brought him home. The West Palm Beach-born Saltalamacchia according to multiple sources who has agreed in principle to a three-year, $21 million deal. It came together Tuesday, when the Twins shifted their focus away from the switching-hitting catcher. Depending on the date of his physical, Saltalamacchia could be in the Marlins' fold before the start of next week's Winter Meetings in Orlando. A product of Royal Palm Beach High School and the Braves' supplemental first-round pick (36th overall) in 2003, Saltalamacchia gives the Marlins an offensive-minded complement to the right-handed hitting Jeff Mathis. The Marlins were thrilled in 2013 with Mathis' role in developing a young pitching staff, but getting more offense out of the position was an offseason priority. In 2,203 career PAs with the Braves, Rangers and Red Sox, Saltalamacchia is a .246/.310/.428 hitter. He's coming off a .273/.338/.466 campaign with the World Series champion Red Sox. The Red Sox opted not to make Saltalamacchia a qualifying offer, but they did have interest in bringing him back. The Boston Globe on Monday reported the Red Sox were not budging from their two-year offer. A Wellington resident, Saltalamacchia, 28, will know at least one face in the clubhouse when he joins his hometown team. Bench coach and catching instructor Rob Leary was a major league coaching staff assistant with the Red Sox in 2010-11, Saltalamacchia's first two seasons there. Saltalamacchia in 2013 was considerably better from the left side against right-handed pitching. He hit 76 points higher (.294) and slugged 204 points better (.523) than he did hitting right-handed off lefty pitchers (.218, .319). He totaled 136 plate appearances off left-handers compared to 334 off righties. All but two of his 14 homers came as a lefty swinger. The Marlins thought they had a long-term answer behind the plate when they acquired Rob Brantly from the Tigers in the Anibal Sanchez/Omar Infante deal before the July 31, 2012 trade deadline. Brantly regressed both offensively and defensively in 2013, and the Marlins have said he would benefit from more time in the minors. No other National League catching contingent in 2013 produced a more lackluster slash line than the Marlins' group (.194/.249/.280). In addition, Marlins' catchers totaled just nine homers and 51 RBI.
Saltalamacchia, Marlins agree on 3-year, $21 million deal
Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel | Dec 4