Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell has dismissed the idea of using personal catchers for the upcoming 2013 season.
The trend of pairing certain batteries has become commonplace in MLB over the last decade. The thinking behind the philosophy is that catchers are more productive if they get every fifth day off. This also keeps the backup catcher sharp. Many managers believe that pairing the backup catcher with the same pitcher each time out will result in better camaraderie and thus, more wins. Farrell isn’t buying it.
The Red Sox will head into the season with Jarrod Saltalamacchia as the starter and David Ross as the backup.
“You know, with David here, (we want him) getting used to the guys he’s going to handle,” Farrell said. “We haven’t identified a tandem that we’ll look to maintain through the rotation. He’s not going to handle one guy every time out.”
This is in contrast to what the Red Sox have done in the past. In recent years, Josh Beckett would always be paired with Jason Varitek. Similarly, Red Sox ace Jon Lester would most often work with the backup catcher.
The Red Sox may be moving away from this philosophy because they expect that Ross will play a lot more than just once a week. With David Ortiz injured, Farrell has indicated that he will use Saltalamacchia at DH on occasion—meaning more starts for Ross.
Ross appeared in 62 games last season with the Atlanta Braves. He batted .256 with nine homers and 23 RBI. But more importanly, he was excellent behind the plate, throwing out 44% of potential base stealers.
(JM Catellier is the author of the book Fixing Baseball, a guide to restructuring the Hall of Fame. Follow him on Twitter: @FixingBaseball and Facebook, and check out his site: www.fixingbaseball.com)