It is widely believed that the New York Yankees will be interested in free agent catcher Brian McCann and will look to sign McCann to shore up their beleaguered catching position. However, the Yankees won’t be the only ones interested in the catcher as the Boston Red Sox, Texas Rangers, Los Angeles Angels, Atlanta Braves and a few other clubs will probably show interest. If the bidding gets too high the Yankees shouldn’t hesitate to contact the second-best catcher on the free agent market, Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
Saltalamacchia, 28, has spent the last four years with the Red Sox where he has hit .243/.307/.455 with 177 runs scored, 55 home runs, 83 doubles and four triples in 355 games. In 2012, Saltalamacchia hit a career-high 25 home runs but had his best season this past year when he hit 14 home runs, drove in 65, scored 68 and hit .273/.338/.466 in 121 games.
He is coming off his best season at just the right time as Saltalamacchia should be able to cash in as he enters his age-29 season. The Yankees need to add someone with offensive upside to their catching position where they got very little from Chris Stewart, Francisco Cervelli, Austin Romine and J.R. Murphy. Romine and Murphy have the most upside as both are still young and showcased some offensive potential but the Yankees need to be impatient now after missing the playoffs for only the second time since 1995.
If the Yankees can’t land McCann because his price is too high then Saltalamacchia would be a nice consolation prize. His ability to switch-hit would be a big plus, especially if the Yankees land fellow switch-hitter Carlos Beltran, which would give Joe Girardi plenty of options in his lineup.
As for who backs up McCann or Saltalamacchia, the Yankees can have a battle in spring training between Stewart, Cervelli, Romine and Murphy with Romine being the odds-on favorite at this point with Murphy pegged for Triple-A, ready to jump in if needed.
The Yankees can’t go wrong with either McCann or Saltalamacchia. Both are upgrades. Both will cost probably more than they are worth. However, both are upgrades over what the Yankees trotted out behind the plate.