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.
Do the additions of Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon make the Rays contenders again? My answer is no.
After losing Grant Balfour, Jason Bartlett, Joaquin
Benoit, Randy Choate, Carl Crawford, Matt Garza, Brad Hawpe, Dioner Navarro, Carlos
Pena, Fernando Perez, Chad Qualls, Rafael Soriano, and Dan Wheeler the Rays
think that by signing two outfielders, one 37 and the other 38, they along with
the rest of America thinks they are “good” again.
I mean I think that the Rays’ general manager, Andrew
Friedman, is one of the best in baseball. However, what the heck is he
First off, the Rays didn’t really need any more
outfielders/ designated hitters. I mean Desmond Jennings, B.J. Upton, and Ben
Zobrist make up maybe one of the best outfields in baseball, even without
Crawford. Now, either Johnny Damon or Desmond Jennings will have to sit on the
bench. That is, unless, Jennings gets sent down to AAA.
However, Zobrist could also be moved to shortstop,
second base, and first base. If Zobrist does get moved to the infield, in my
opinion he would most likely take Dan Johnson’s spot at first.
Then at D.H. you have Matt Joyce and/or Dan Johnson
(depending on Zobrist) who aren’t the best players in the world, but they both
are capable of being an everyday D.H.
The problem with me is that I don’t understand why
they signed both Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon. Their outfield has enough
depth with Justin Ruggiano as to fourth outfielder and Joyce can play the
Jennings is ready for the majors so he shouldn’t be
sent down to AAA. I understand signing Damon or Ramirez to D.H. Yet, I think
signing both of them may have been the Red Sox’s “fault.”
Everyone knows that they Rays have had a pretty bad
offseason. I mean just look at the first sentence of this article. The Red Sox
on the other hand “stole” Carl Crawford and Dan Wheeler. So, I’m assuming that
these moves were made to say that they Rays aren’t just going to roll over.
Also, another obvious reason is attendance. I mean
the Rays have always had low attendances. Heck, Carl Crawford said he signed
with the Red Sox in part to the fact that he knows that there is going to be a
full house every night. I mean Damon has an “attendance clause” for crying out
However, from Damon and Ramirez’s point of view this
is the perfect team. Damon could be “getting back” at the Yankees for not
resigning him. Also, I’m not exactly sure Damon likes Beantown anymore. Manny
might be trying to “get back” at Boston. I mean that’s just not how you want to
end your stay anywhere. Most likely though, both of those things are false.
But what can you expect from the two of them. Well, I
believe player A, will hit fifteen-twenty home runs, drive in over
seventy-five, and bat anywhere from .250 to .290. Player B will hit ten to
twenty homeruns, drive in either around fifty or eighty, and bat around .250.
Who do you think are player A and B? Player A is
Johnny Damon. Player B is Manny Ramirez. Damon has the potential to have some
nice power numbers this year while the odds are he’ll have a higher batting
average then Ramirez.
Manny though, has an injury history. If he stays
healthy though I think you might be able to see some of his old form return.
Regardless of the performance, baseball fans need to
play close attention to the Rays this year. It could be the last year that two
of baseball’s greatest players play.
Also, in a completely off topic story, am I the only
one that found it ironic that Tom Brady got foot surgery after playing the