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Tag:Jarrod Saltalamacchia
Posted on: December 13, 2011 12:06 pm
Edited on: December 13, 2011 7:18 pm
 

Red Sox ink Shoppach, Varitek very likely gone

By Matt Snyder

The assumption throughout the entire offseason was that Jason Varitek's 15-season stint with the Boston Red Sox was over, and it seems pretty official now. The Red Sox have signed Kelly Shoppach to a one-year deal. Multiple outlets are reporting (WEEI.com) that it's a $1.35 million contract. Shoppach is to serve as the backup to catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

Hot Stove Tuesday
Shoppach, 31, has been mired below the Mendoza line the past two seasons, hitting .196 in 2010 and .176 last season. He does have power, as he hit 11 home runs in 253 plate appearances last season and once hit 21 in a season for the Indians. The most important thing, however, is that Shoppach had an MLB-best 41 percent caught stealing percentage from behind the plate. Contrast that to dreadful 14 percent Varitek threw out, and it's easy to see why this move was made.

Keep in mind, 24-year-old Ryan Lavarnway is also providing organizational depth. He made his big-league debut last season and hit .290/.376/.563 with 32 home runs and 93 RBI in 503 plate appearances across Double-A and Triple-A. So Shoppach backs up Saltalamacchia to open the season while Lavarnway continues to grow in Triple-A, meanwhile the Red Sox can promote him when they see fit. The smart money is on Shoppach only being with the Red Sox for this one year and Lavarnway figures heavily into plans in 2013, assuming he doesn't have any setbacks. 

Varitek is a three-time All-Star and had served as the Red Sox team captain for years. He was a regular starter on the 2004 and 2007 World Series champion teams. At 39, though, he's definitely in the twilight of his playing career. It's possible some other team picks him up as a backup, but his days as a useful regular are long since past and he could very well be forced to retire.

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Posted on: December 2, 2011 3:39 pm
Edited on: December 2, 2011 5:10 pm
 

Homegrown Team: Atlanta Braves

Elvis Andrus

By C. Trent Rosecrans


What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no minor or major league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. To view the schedule/past entries of this feature, click here.

The Braves have seemingly always believed in developing talent from within and occasionally supplementing from the outside. It's a formula that's worked for many years and has become a blueprint for most of baseball. However, that doesn't mean they don't make mistakes from time to time, and if you're a Braves fan, you probably already rue the date July 31, 2007, already. On that day, the Braves sent Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz, Matt Harrison, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Beau Jones to the Rangers for Mark Teixeira and Ron Mahay. The Rangers have been to two World Series since the trade and the Braves none.  

Lineup

1. Elvis Andrus, SS
2. Martin Prado, LF
3. Brian McCann, C
4. Chipper Jones, 3B
5. Jeff Francoeur, RF
6. Freddie Freeman, 1B
7. Jason Heyward, CF
8. Kelly Johnson, 2B

Starting Rotation

1. Adam Wainwright
2. Tommy Hanson
3. Brandon Beachy
4. Matt Harrison
5. Mike Minor

Bullpen

Closer - Craig Kimbrel
Set up - Neftali Feliz, Jonny Venters, Matt Belisle, Julio Teheran, Charlie Morton
Long - Bruce Chen

Notable Bench Players

Adam LaRoche, Mark DeRosa, Rafael Furcal, Yunel Escobar, Wilson Betemit, Andruw Jones, Jordan Schafer, Tyler Flowers, Brayan Pena and Garrett Jones give this team an acceptable backup at every spot on the diamond and more. 

What's Good?

The depth is incredible -- in the pitching staff and the position players. Even if Wainwright weren't available because of his injury, the team has Chen, Morton or the rookie Teheran to step in, or they could move Feliz to the rotation without even having to look anywhere else for its closer.

What's Not?

Heyward is playing out of position in center -- it was between him and Francoeur, so I went with Heyward. Other than that? Well, Wainwright might still have been injured and the rotation is young, but talented.

Comparison to real 2011

There's no chance this team would have missed the playoffs, like their real-life counterparts did. The rotation is solid (even without Wainwright) and would have given first-year manager Fredi Gonzalez more innings, meaning he may not have run Kimbrel and Venters into the ground. The lineup has enough punch to aid that goal. Does this team win the World Series? Maybe. The rotation isn't a postseason killer -- yet, but there's certainly potential.

Next: Toronto Blue Jays

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Posted on: July 17, 2011 3:02 pm
Edited on: July 20, 2011 8:50 am
 

Rockies need 'Herschel Walker' deal for Jimenez

Ubaldo Jimenez

By C. Trent Rosecrans

It seems Ubaldo Jimenez is this season's hot name that could go nowhere.

Last week it was the Reds who popped up as a possible landing spot for Jimenez, but now it seems more are involved. Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated reports the Rockies have been in contact with the Yankees about Jimenez. Heyman said later on MLB Network that 12 teams have contacted the Rockies about JImenez, adding the Red Sox and Rays as possible bidders. Troy Renck of the Denver Post adds the Tigers, Rangers and Phillies as teams with interest in Jimenez.

It's easy to understand why teams would want Jimenez -- he's one of the top talents in the game, even if he's not putting up the dominant numbers he did a year ago when he was 15-1 with a  2.20 ERA in the first half. This season he's 5-8 with a 4.08 ERA, but most of his struggles have been at Coors Field, where his ERA more than three-and-a-half runs higher than it is on the road -- .5.89 at home and 2.28 on the road. His strikeout rate (8.1 per nine innings) is down slightly (8.7 last season), but so are his walks (3.5 walks per nine innings in 2011 and 3.7 in 2010).

And it's not just Jimenez's presence on the mound that makes him attractive, he's a relative bargain, signed through next season and he makes just $4.2 million in 2012 and has team options for both 2013 ($5.75 million) and 2014 ($8 million), but the 2014 option is voided if he's traded. Evan at $8 million, Jimenez is a bargain -- for comparison, Colorado's Aaron Cook is making $9.25 million this season and enters today's start with an 0-4 record and 5.82 ERA. Another team won't benefit from the 2014 option, but any team trading for him would get Jimenez for the next two seasons for less than $10 million.

As a comparison, perhaps one of the other top names on the trade market is Houston left-hander Wandy Rodriguez, who is in the first year of a three-year, $34 million contract.

Jesus MonteroThe Rockies have spent their entire existence searching for an ace pitcher that's not bothered pitching at Coors Field, in Jimenez, they've finally got him. So, why would the Rockies trade him? That's a pretty good question. The short answer is that it doesn't cost anything to listen.

"We would have to be absolutely overwhelmed," Rockies general manager Dan O'Dowd told the Denver Post. "It would have to be a Herschel Walker deal."

In 1989 the Dallas Cowboys sent Herschel Walker to the Minnesota Vikings along with four draft picks in return for five players and eight draft picks. The Cowboys turned those draft picks into Emmitt Smith, Alvin Harper, Darren Woodson, Dixon Edwards and more draft picks, including the one that led to the first overall pick in 1991 (Russell Maryland). That trade laid the foundation for the Cowboys' three Super Bowl titles in the mid-90s.

In a baseball equivalent, you could call it a Mark Teixeira trade. In baseball, you can't trade draft picks, but prospects are the equivalent of NFL draft picks. In 2007, the Rangers sent Teixeira and Ron Mahay to Atlanta for Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz, Matt Harrison and Jarrod Saltalamacchia. That's a pretty good haul -- and that's for a player that was scheduled to be a free agent. Jimenez could cost more because of the extra years of team control with a very team-friendly contract.

The market has changed in reaction to that trade, with fewer teams giving up that much for rentals, but Jimenez won't be a rental, so he could command a king's ransom.

What are the Rockies looking for? Mainly they want young pitching talent that can be under team control for a long time, but that's major league ready. They'd also want a top-notch position prospect, as well. The Yankees would likely need to give up catcher Jesus Montero (right) and a top pitching prospect such as Manny Banuelos or Dellin Betances in addition to other prospects. Heyman said on MLB Network that the Rockies have asked for not just Montero, Banuelos and Betances, but also Ivan Nova. The Reds could spare first baseman Yonder Alonso, but would have to send some pitching such as Mike Leake and/or Travis Wood to the Rockies in addition to other players.

There have been reports that Jimenez is unhappy with being on the trading block, but he denies that's the case.

"I won't be bothered by trade rumors. I am mentally strong," Jimenez told Renck. "Don't forget that about me."

It would be foolish for someone like O'Dowd not to listen, but in the end, if the Rockies do trade him, it will have to be for a massive collection of talent.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.


Posted on: July 14, 2011 4:11 pm
Edited on: July 14, 2011 6:18 pm
 

Ortiz, Gregg receive four-game suspensions

By Evan Brunell

OrtizSuspensions and fines were handed down on Thursday for the Red Sox-Orioles brawl just before the All-Star break, with aggressors Kevin Gregg of Baltimore and David Ortiz of Boston receiving four games apiece. Gregg's suspension is set to begin Thursday and Ortiz's on Friday unless they appeal, which is expected.

Gregg, the closer, threw three inside pitches to Big Papi in a telegraphed attempt to hit him. Ortiz vented his displeasure after the third high pitch, then flew out. Gregg informed Ortiz not so nicely to run the ball out and then head back to the dugout, at which point Ortiz charged the mound and sparked a bench-clearing incident.

 "I'll let the process go out," Gregg, told the Associated Press, adding that the fine was a significant number. "The four-game is a pretty hefty suspension. I get the right to meet in New York with some people, tell them how it went down, what happened, get to say my side of the story."

Orioles reliever Mike Gonzalez was also suspended three games for intentionally throwing at Ortiz two games later, while the Red Sox's John Lackey was fined for intentionally throwing at Derrek Lee Saturday. Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia of the BoSox and reliever Jim Johnson of Baltimore were also fined for their actions.

 "I definitely think they need to go back and do their homework," Gonzalez said, displeased with the league officials' decisions. "I think they need to go back and go through the whole series as opposed to just going through one game and seeing how everything fell into place."

Skipper Buck Showalter will sit out Thursday's game as he was suspended one game for Gonzalez's actions. He is unable to appeal.

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Posted on: June 8, 2011 7:45 pm
Edited on: June 8, 2011 11:39 pm
 

Boston catcher doesn't have appendicitis

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Jarron SaltalamacchiaRed Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia hads tests at a New York hospital to determine whether he has appendicitis, but it was determined he did not, the Boston Globe reports. Instead, the Red Sox are calling his ailment a "stomach illness."

Saltalamacchia was scheduled to catch Red Sox starter Tim Wakefield, but was scratched, forcing Jason Varitek to catch Wakefield for the first time in several years. Varitek is actually wearing a first baseman's mitt to catch the knuckleballer. In the past, Varitek has struggled catching Wakefield's knuckleball.

During the first weeks of the season, both St. Louis' Matt Holliday and the White Sox's Adam Dunn missed time after undergoing appendectomies.

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Posted on: May 26, 2011 1:55 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Crawford, Salty coming around



By Matt Snyder


Carl Crawford, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Red Sox. In a game where the Red Sox pounded the MLB-best Indians for 14 runs on 20 hits, two players stood out. They stood out because they had drastically fallen short of expectations offensively in the early going for their slow-starting team. Wednesday, though, may be a sign the worm is finally starting to turn for Crawford and Saltalamacchia. Crawford went 4-4 with two doubles, a home run, three runs and two RBI. Saltalamacchia went 2-4 with a homer, three RBI, two runs and a walk. Crawford's average is now a season-high .229 (and he's hitting .309 in May). He closes the three-game series in Cleveland 6-11 with two doubles and two home runs. Saltalamacchia, meanwhile, is eight for his last 21 with four home runs and seven RBI. He's even walked more times than he's struck out in that span, which is a great sign considering he had 24 strikeouts and four walks prior.

Brooks Conrad, Braves. The pinch hitter entered Wednesday with 31 plate appearances in 27 games. He was hitting just .130 with zero home runs and a .474 OPS. Yet in the top of the 11th against the Pirates, Conrad took Jeff Karstens deep for what proved to be the game-winning home run.

Erik Bedard, Mariners. The former ace is trying to prove that he's healthy and back on track. He's doing pretty much all you could ask after everything he's been through. Bedard worked six scoreless innings Wednesday night and picked up his third straight winning decision. Here's his line in his last five starts, which includes a 3-0 record: 33 IP, 28 K, 7 BB, 1.09 ERA, 0.85 WHIP. He's got a lot of season left, but this is why they invented an award called the Comeback Player of the Year.



Brandon Phillips, Reds. You know that 19-inning loss the Reds just suffered? The one where they emptied out their entire bullpen and completely abused Carlos Fisher's poor right arm? Yeah, the Reds shouldn't have had to do that. There were myriad reasons for this, but the most glaring was Phillips being picked off second base in the 11th. It was bad because he was picked off as the go-ahead run in a tie game. It was bad because white-hot Jay Bruce was on deck. It was bad because it happened in a stretch where the Reds drew three consecutive walks after Phillips was hit with a pitch. But it was completely unforgivable because Phillips was socializing with Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins when he was nabbed. Phillips wasn't even remotely paying attention when the throw got him by several feet. He's well-chronicled for having a lovable personality, but you can't have that in a professional. His job is to play baseball. To his credit, he knows it. He told reporters after the game he takes all the blame for the loss.

Justin Berg, Cubs. If you ever want a reason to pay more attention to stats other than ERA for relievers, check out this debacle. Berg relieved Casey Coleman with one out in the second inning and the bases loaded. Berg threw 12 pitches. Every single one of them was a ball. That means he walked the only three batters he faced, forcing in three runs. They were all charged to Coleman. Since James Russell came in and got out of the jam, none of Berg's baserunners scored. He was left with a line of zero innings, three walks and zero earned runs. And the Cubs lost by three.

Luke Hochevar, Royals. Obviously some credit has to be given to the Orioles for the eight run fourth inning -- and some blame has to be passed along to Alcides Escobar for an error that allowed the eighth run -- but Hochevar simply has to be better than this. After three scoreless innings, he let this happen in the fourth: Double, single, ground out, walk, double, walk (with a wild pitch), single, walk, single, single, pop out, throwing error, ground out. There wasn't even really a big blow.

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Posted on: May 8, 2011 1:09 pm
Edited on: May 8, 2011 1:23 pm
 

Scutaro out 'a while,' Iglesias' role defined

By Matt Snyder

The promotion of light-hitting yet slick-fielding prospect Jose Iglesias makes a lot more sense Sunday morning, as Marco Scutaro has been placed on the 15-day disabled list. Red Sox manager Terry Francona told reporters Scutaro is going to miss a good amount of time with an oblique injury (what else, right?).

“He’s over getting get an MRI,” Francona said. “His left oblique had been a little tender for a few days and after the rain delay [Saturday] he went back out, and I don’t know the exact incident, it started grabbing at him, and actually started grabbing at him pretty good. Even knowing the MRI wasn’t going to be till this morning, we know he’s going to be down for a while with his symptoms so we got Iglesias here.” (WEEI.com )

Don't expect to see Iglesias used as a regular, though. He's the backup to Jed Lowrie at shortstop and Francona has said he's only planning on using Iglesias as a late-inning defensive replacement or a pinch-runner. With good reason, because Iglesias is hitting .253 with zero extra base hits and a .278 OBP in Triple-A.

“I think we all think he’s got a bright future here,” Francona said. “I don’t think right now is his time to be our starting shortstop.” (Clubhouse Insider )

In other news, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports that the Red Sox have contacted Bengie Molina, but aren't yet ready to make a strong push. The reason is simple, they are not getting much from the behind the plate. Jason Varitek works well with the pitching staff, but he's one of the worst hitters in the majors at this point. Jarrod Saltalamacchia was supposed to take over catching duties this season, but he has been suspect defensively and hasn't been much better than Varitek at the plate (.203/.247/.275). The Red Sox seem to be constantly looking for ways to improve their catching situation, but there just isn't much out there at this point. Things should change when it gets closer to the trade deadline (a Ryan Doumit, perhaps?), but for now it appears they're stuck hoping Salty starts swinging the bat.

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Posted on: April 20, 2011 10:42 pm
Edited on: April 20, 2011 10:45 pm
 

Red Sox have two-week leash on Saltalamacchia

Saltalamacchia

By Evan Brunell

The Red Sox could make a change at catcher in the coming weeks, as Peter Gammons reports on WEEI, noting that "this is an issue that in the next two weeks is going to be addressed, and I don't know which direction it's going."

Incumbent Jarrod Saltalamacchia, once thought to have a leash until June, instead could be on the way out after a thoroughly uninspiring start to the year. Salty has an inaccurate arm and has looked lost at the plate by striking out 13 times in 39 plate appearances with a low .194/.256/.222 line. That's simply awful, and while it's only 39 plate appearances, he's looked so far away from the pedigree that made him a former first-round pick that he's already started losing copious amounts of playing time to Jason Varitek. The captain has started five of the last nine games -- this after Salty kicked the year off with seven of eight appearances.

"He’s such a good guy. He cares so much. He tries so hard," Gammons said. "[But] you just can’t have this on a championship team, especially when a big part of that championship team is built around power pitchers who are in a couple of cases struggling for their identity. I would be shocked now if Varitek doesn’t catch [Josh] Beckett all the time now. Clearly, they’ve made the decision that he’s going to catch [Daisuke] Matsuzaka, whose earned run average is massively different with Varitek catching. But I don’t think they can afford to let Jason go out and try to catch 120, 130 games."

Part of the problem is that the performances of pitchers with Salty starting are terrible, with a 7.16 ERA for pitchers with the 26-year-old behind the plate. 'Tek, meanwhile, is at 2.40. It's far too early to consider whether that's an actual issue or dumb luck as the sample size is simply too small. But the fact that Varitek has already become the personal catcher for two starting pitchers is not promising. That said, it remains in Boston's best interest to develop Saltalamacchia. With the Red Sox finally winning and the pressure off searching for quick fix solutions, Salty will get a fair number of at-bats in the next couple of weeks to prove Boston's adamant belief that he can be an impact hitter.

What happens if he can't, though? What happens if Boston decides to move on from Salty? Who can replace him?

It can't be Varitek, who has proven at this point in his career he is no longer capable of starting full-time. But who else is out there?

Internally, Luis Exposito and Michael McKenry (acquired from the Rockies in late March) are splitting time at Triple-A. While McKenry is an intriguing name, he is off to a slow start and in a new organization. Exposito, meanwhile, could end up a starting catcher in the majors but the 24-year-old is struggling himself in his first crack at Triple-A.

Gammons names Tim Federowicz as a possibility, as the Double-A catcher is "the best catch-and-throw guy in the organization." Certainly, if a move was to be made, the Sox would go defense over offense so Federowicz is a real possibility -- a better one than Ryan Lavarnway, a catcher in name only who is DHing as Federowciz's teammate.

How about externally? Boston certainly has the trade pieces to strike for a catcher, as they could dangle outfielder Mike Cameron, infielders Jed Lowrie or Marco Scutaro (likely the latter) and prospects such as Yamaico Navarro, Oscar Tejeda, Kyle Weiland, Lars Anderson ... no, finding chips to deal won't be an issue. Finding someone to deal for is. The best available name is Ivan Rodriguez, who is frozen out in Washington. But there's a reason I-Rod is available: he's no longer a legitimate starter as his bat has abandoned him in his chase for 3,000 hits. Gammons also believes Rodriguez would struggle with the pitching staff in Boston even if he has an impeccable defensive reputation.

Other than that ... umm ...

"If there was somebody available who they thought was really good defensively, I think they would immediately jump and do something. I don’t see that catcher," said Gammons. "I’ve gone through lists everywhere trying to figure out who could possibly be available. I just don’t see anybody good. There are guys out there who are OK backups."

And "OK backups" won't fly for the Red Sox. Oh, sure, the Red Sox could entice Bengie Molina out of retirement, but Molina's an aging catcher whose lost all value in his bat and would need a few weeks, at minimum, to get into playing shape.

Bottom line: there isn't much out there.

When push comes to shove, even if the Red Sox believe Salty's leash is only there for two more weeks, they may not have much choice in extending that leash.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com