As I travel around the team previews, I come to what may be the most interesting position. The Catcher. There has been Unusual turnover at this position the last couple years. After so many years of Varitek and whoever was catching Wakefield, the Red Sox find themselves with an actual question mark behind the plate.
The Sox have a two part catching system. They have the young kid who was once so full of promise. They have the veteran who may be as much coach as player. How do they make that work? I’m not sure. Let’s start with the Captain.
What will Varitek’s role be? Good question. It will be as the back-up, that much is sure. Will he have a defined turn? Maybe. Will they use him as a platoon against lefties? Not a bad idea. Will he stay as Beckett’s personal catcher? That’s a pretty good idea too. I guess that may be a question for the starters. Would it bother them if the opposing pitcher determined who caught them? Or, do they prefer knowing it’ll almost always be Salty, and for Beckett it will always be Tek? Either one should get Varitek in the about the right number of games. It’s just a matter of what works best for the whole team. And, it might even change as the season progresses.
Of corse, the real question is with the starter. Exactly what should we expect out of young Jarrod Saltalamacchia? I really have no idea. Clearly the job is his. It’s not his to lose…it’s just his. So, that must make him feel pretty comfortable. He has some talent somewhere. After all he was once the main piece in a deal for Mark Teixeira. I have a 2008 Fantasy baseball guide that lists him as the thirteenth best catcher. He’s reaching the age where he should be able to put it all together. Will he? We’ll just have to see. But, I’m pretty optimistic. I don’t expect him to produce like V-Mart. No kidding. But, a serviceable catcher is just what this team needs. What do I predict for them?
Salty: .266, 11, 58
Tek: .256, 5, 44
Not a bad tandum.