MLB Teams That Could Try to Trade for One of the Red Sox's Catchers

Mark MillerCorrespondent IJanuary 25, 2013

TORONTO, CANADA - SEPTEMBER 15: Jarrod Saltalamacchia #39 of the Boston Red Sox tries to block a throw from the outfield in the fifth inning as a run scores on the play on a sacrifice fly RBI during MLB game action against the Toronto Blue Jays on September 15, 2012 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

With a surplus of players who could fit the bill as a major league catcher, the Boston Red Sox find themselves in a rare position of strength heading into spring training.

There haven't been any active discussions pertaining to the notion of trading a player like Jarrod Saltalamacchia as of yet, but with a strong enough spring training, the Red Sox may opt to see what they can get for the free-agent-to-be.

2012 was Saltalamacchia's most successful offensive campaign, with 25 home runs and 59 RBI in 121 games—104 of which were behind the plate.

He unfortunately struggles with his eye at the plate, though, with at least 120 strikeouts over his past two seasons and on-base percentages nowhere near .300.

Even if the team does deem there to be enough reason to move him, it then needs to find a team that could offer a feasible package in return.

The Seattle Mariners' patience with Justin Smoak may be running thin, meaning they could be willing to take on a proven major league catcher in exchange. Yet, with catching prospect Mike Zunino working his way up the team's organization, Saltalamacchia may not be a long-term need.

A National League team seemingly in need of help in most areas are the Marlins, who have spent much of the offseason unloading anyone of value. The catchers on their roster are young backstops who have little or no major league experience, as well as Jeff Mathis, a perennial backup who has never played more than 100 games in a season.

An unlikely but perhaps viable destination for Saltalamacchia may actually be Minnesota, where the Twins already have the highest-paid catcher in the league in Joe Mauer.

With $23 million owed to him annually through 2018, there's no doubt that Mauer will be the focal point of their offense for years to come. He has, however, had his share of struggles staying healthy and has actually only once caught more than 120 games in his nine seasons with the Twins.

He caught only 74 games last season, and with the prospect of Justin Morneau entering free agency after this season, it wouldn't be the biggest surprise to see Mauer gradually transition to seeing more action at first base.

The Red Sox may ultimately end up signing Saltalamacchia for the long term, but with catcher representing one of the most important positions on the field, there shouldn't be a shortage of suitors if they seriously pursue the notion of moving him.