Jarrod Saltalamacchia was about the only player entering the 2011 season expectation-free. Nobody was expecting him to hit like Joe Mauer or Brian McCann, they just expected him to be serviceable.
Now, after three weeks, even his serviceable skills may be in question.
Clearly, the pitchers have been more comfortable with Jason Varitek, someone who they have all worked with before and respect, not only for his game-calling abilities, but for his leadership as well. These are two qualities they don’t seem to be getting out of Saltalamacchia.
And therein lies the conundrum wrapped in the mystery folded into the puzzle. Defensively, Varitek looks like your better choice, but offensively he can’t seem to catch up to even the slowest of fastballs. Offensively, Saltalamacchia has shown traces of the potential that followed him in his minor league days, but defensively he seems incapable of capturing his pitchers’ trust.
If this team is going to get the ship righted and floating towards the playoffs, they’re going to need some consistency behind home plate to help build the pitching staff’s confidence. Let the rest of the lineup worry about the offense and let the catchers catch.