Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sport
In an offseason without very many alarming needs, the Braves could justify putting all of their eggs in one basket and re-signing Brian McCann at market value, which could be around five years and $70 million. They could also opt to let him walk and go with slugger Evan Gattis or defensive whiz Christian Bethancourt and maintain payroll flexibility for the next several years.
Or they can settle somewhere in the middle by adding one of several free agent catchers on the market who can handle the starting catching job in Atlanta. The next best option after McCann is Jarrod Saltalamacchia (pictured), a former first-round draft pick by the Braves.
The 28-year-old switch-hitter played in 47 games with the team as a rookie back in 2007 before being traded to the Rangers in the Mark Teixeira deal. After a few disappointing seasons in Texas, he's settled in as a very solid player in Boston, where he has a .757 OPS with an average of 18 homers and 58 runs batted in over the past three years.
Signing Saltalamacchia, who should be able to land a deal for at least three years and $24 million, would show that the Braves aren't big enough believers in Gattis' defense or Bethancourt's offense.
If they were to sign a shorter-term option, however, it would allow Gattis to continue in a utility role and Bethancourt to play a full season in Triple-A before they had to make a decision again.
A.J. Pierzynski could be the best one-year option while a few catchers who are probably in position to land two-year deals, including John Buck, Dioner Navarro, Carlos Ruiz and Kurt Suzuki, could move into a backup role in 2015 after making a majority of the starts next season.