Comfortable with Salty as starting catcher?

November, 23, 2010
With Victor Martinez now headed to Detroit and a thin crop of catchers on the free-agent market, the Red Sox could very well go into the season with 25-year-old Jarrod Saltalamacchia as the starting catcher.

What does Terry Francona think of that possibility? The Sox manager discussed it on Boston sports radio WEEI on Tuesday.

“Really interesting kid. [Saltalamacchia has] been through a lot. He’s been injured, he’s had some trouble throwing. Saying that, he’s been the Rangers’ Opening Day catcher the last two years, that’s how much they thought of him,” Francona said. “A switch hitter with power, I think we view him potentially as somebody that can really fit he bill as maybe an everyday catcher with us.

“Saying that, I don’t know if you want to just -- because of everything he’s been through -- hand everything to him April 1 and say “Go get ‘em’. Sometimes you’re helping to set somebody up to fail. We don’t want that to happen. We want to help this kid progress because we really like what’s in there but you also want to help him get there.”

It appears the Red Sox haven't made up their mind yet on whether Saltalamacchia can be their starting catcher in 2011, a point seemingly reinforced by Francona later in the segment as well.

“Maybe by giving him the everyday duty right now, that might not be the right thing to do. Maybe we need to help this kid, we don’t know. Those are decisions we have to make,” Francona said. “Theo [Epstein] said the other day and I really believe it, at some point you have to assume some risk somewhere. I think we’re all pretty comfortable that if this is one of the risks we assume we like this kid. Every time you looked up last year when he caught, our starting pitcher was pitching into the seventh inning. That says something about [Saltalamacchia].”

What do you think? Would you be confident with Saltalamacchia as the everyday Red Sox catcher in 2011? Leave your thoughts in the comments section.



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