Ben Cherington and company are doing extensive research on free agent catcher/first baseman Mike Napoli. They’ve already added a backup catcher in David Ross, and should they land Napoli there will be a big logjam behind the plate between Ross, Napoli, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ryan Lavarnway.
Given the signing of Ross, high hopes for Lavarnway, and potential addition of Napoli (who could also be their first baseman and emergency catcher), Heyman thinks Saltalamacchia would be the odd-man out.
“They’ve talked to Napoli, Russell Martin; they’ve talked to a lot. They’re looking to make a change behind the plate,” said Heyman. “My thought is it will likely be Saltalamacchia who they let go.”
“They got him and I think were pretty pleased. But long-term I think there are questions about game calling,” Heyman noted. “I don’t want to lay it all on him because the whole (2012) season was a disaster on all fronts, but the pitching did under-perform and I think Boston is looking for something else.”
In Ross, Heyman thinks the Red Sox landed one of the best backup catchers in baseball.
“He’s never been a full-time player, but he’s a very, very good backup and he’ll be a good player for them,” said Heyman. “David Ross is one of the best backup catchers in baseball. That may be kind of a mild compliment, but in this case I think it’s a pretty good one. He’s a good defensive player, he had a good year offensively.”
Where does Heyman think Torii Hunter will end up this off-season? Are the Red Sox in the running for outfielder Josh Hamilton? And how hard is it to predict which players will have success in Boston? Listen in as Jon Heyman breaks it all down on Gresh & Zo!