BOSTON, MA—The Boston Red Sox today agreed to terms with catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia on a one-year, non-guaranteed contract for the 2013 season, thus avoiding salary arbitration. Terms were not disclosed. The announcement was made by Executive Vice President/General Manager Ben Cherington.
Saltalamacchia, 27, hit .222 with 25 home runs and 59 RBI in 2012. He led the Red Sox in home runs, the first catcher to do so since Carlton Fisk, who in 1973 and 1977 hit 26, the club record for a catcher.
The switch-hitter set career highs in home runs, RBI, games (121), runs (55), and walks (38). Nearly half (43) of his hits (90) went for extra bases. He ranked third among major league catchers in home runs and finished with the fourth-best slugging percentage (.454) among American League catchers (minimum 375 PA). As a catcher, his 104 games and 852 innings ranked fifth in the league, and his 95 starts tied for fifth. His .991 fielding percentage ranked sixth.
Acquired by Boston from Texas for three minor leaguers (and cash considerations) on July 31, 2010, the native of West Palm Beach, FL, has hit 41 homers over the past two seasons, tied for the fourth-most among AL catchers. Saltalamacchia, who hit 16 home runs in 2011, is the fourth Red Sox catcher to hit at least 16 homers in back-to-back seasons, joining Carlton Fisk (1972-73, 1976-78), Rich Gedman (1984-86) and Jason Varitek (2003-05).
Active in the community again in 2012, he was among team leaders with 26 appearances, served as co-captain of the Jimmy Fund, and earned the BoSox Club’s “Man of the Year Award” for community service.
Originally a supplemental first-round selection by Atlanta in the June 2003 draft, Saltalamacchia owns a .239 average with 81 doubles, 5 triples, 64 home runs and 210 RBI in 474 career games over six seasons with the Braves (2007), Rangers (2007-10) and Red Sox (2010-12).
The Red Sox have eight arbitration-eligible players remaining: right-handers Alfredo Aceves, Andrew Bailey, Daniel Bard, and Joel Hanrahan, left-handers Craig Breslow, Andrew Miller and Franklin Morales, and outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury.