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Salty is entering his third season as Boston primary backstop
Saltalamacchia is an interesting case. Since being acquired via trade near the end of 2010, Salty, as he is known in Boston, has caught 225 games for the Red Sox.
Though he won’t be confused with his predecessor, Jason Varitek, Salty's performance thus far has been admirable.
Last year, Salty had the best season of his young career, launching 25 home runs and vastly improving his defense. Salty was even considered a contender to join the All-Star squad.
However, unlike last year, Salty now has some stiff competition for the starting catcher role. Former Braves backup, David Ross, is a significantly better defender and has plenty of pop in his bat.
Former top prospect Ryan Lavarnway will also be a threat to Salty’s job down the stretch, as he has nothing left to prove in the minors. Lavarnway’s defense may be lacking, but his bat is very real. He should hit for power and a decent average once he nails down an everyday position.
Furthermore, Salty will be a free agent after this season, and offensively capable backstops are often a hot commodity on the open market. A strong 2013 performance would go a long way towards earning him a lucrative contract.
However, if he underperforms and loses his job to one of the two aforementioned catchers, it will be a tough offseason for Salty.