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2014 MLB Free Agent Profile: Jarrod Saltalamacchia

Should the Mets be in the market for a catcher after Travis d'Arnaud's lukewarm debut?

Jamie Squire

Do the Mets really need to be shopping for a catcher this offseason? The answer to that question depends on how you feel about Travis d'Arnaud and his .202/.286/.263 line he put up last season in just 112 plate appearances. Yes, that is way too small a sample size on which to be judging the value of the young catcher, but the reason it's so small is because d'Arnaud has a habit of getting injured. It might not be a terrible idea to bring in a veteran backstop with World Series experience.

And even if you think "experience" and "leadership" are just words used by Saltalamacchia's agent to drive his price up, he's still a 28-year-old catcher who hit .273/.338/.466 last season. You can do a lot worse than that.

The cost

Saltalamacchia surely is looking to cash with a long-term deal after posting the best season of a career that has seen him struggle to find a full-time gig. 2013 was not just his best season at he plate so far, it was also the one in which he set a career high in at-bats, doubles, walks, and WAR. Teams may be wary that Saltalamacchia has only really "done it" for one full season, but he's always been considered a very talented offensive player. He'll probably earn something along the lines of $30 million over three years this winter.

The fit

No matter how much money it would cost the Mets to acquire Saltalamacchia, the real question is whether or not the Mets need a veteran catcher when there are more pressing needs at shortstop and in the outfield. Saltalamacchia is a switch hitter who is a much stronger player against righties, so he would fit in well with d'Arnaud in a platoon situation, but he can't be crazy about having to split playing time with a hyped prospect.

When you consider the media distraction that a position battle would create, Saltalamacchia's wishy-washy defense, and New York's more pressing needs, a deal between the Mets and Saltalamacchia starts to feel very improbable.