His last name barely fits on his jersey, he
couldn’t throw the ball back to the pitcher last year, and he’s only hit
twenty-three home runs in his career. Yet, Jarrod Saltalamacchia will be catching Josh Beckett, Jon
Lester, John Lackey, Clay Buchholz, and Daisuke Matsuzaka in 2011.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia was drafted by the
Atlanta Braves with the thirty-sixth pick in the 2003 draft, one pick before
Orioles all-star outfielder Adam Jones.
In 2006 with the braves class A
affiliate, the Rome Braves, Salty had his best year of his young career. He hit
.314, with nineteen home runs, and eighty-one runs batted in. After his
breakout season Baseball America ranked Saltalamacchia as the eighteenth best
prospect in Major League Baseball.
The following year, Saltalamacchia became
the starting catcher for the Mississippi Braves (AA). In twenty-two games,
Salty hit .373 with seven big flies.
The same year, in 2007 Saltalamacchia was
called up on his twenty-second birthday after an injury to Brian McCann and
then made his major league debut.
On July 31, 2007, also in the same year, Elvis
Andrus, Neftali Feliz, Matt Harrison, Beau Jones, and Saltalamacchia were
traded to the Texas Rangers for Mark Teixeira and Ron Mahay.
Fast-forward three years latter and
Saltalamacchia was put on the disabled list after the first two games of the
2010 season. He was then sent down to AAA because he couldn’t do one of the
simplest things in baseball. Eventually and thankfully, Salty learned how to
throw the ball back to the pitcher.
On July 31, 2010 Jarrod Saltalamacchia
was traded to the Boston Red Sox in exchange for Chris McGuiness, Ramon Mendez, a player to be named later (Michael
Thomas), and some money. He was then sent to Pawtucket.
Saltalamacchia was eventually called up after
an injury to Kevin Cash. In his first appearance in the Red Sox starting line
up on August 12, Saltalamacchia went 2-4 with a run scored.
So far, in his time in Bean town, Salty went
just 3-19 (.158), with one RBI, two runs scored, and no home runs. Yet, despite
those stats, the Red Sox are letting Jarrod Saltalamacchia control one of the
best pitching staffs in baseball.
I got this idea from hardball. Try to make a 25 man roster using 2008 salaries whose team payroll is under 100 million.