Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here... highlighting the big storyline. Because there's nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
"Right now, our expectation is (carrying) Salty and Ross. They're the two proven guys," GM Ben Cherington said earlier today. "We think Salty and Ross complement each other well, and we feel pretty good about where we are, catching-wise. Ryan Lavarnway has come a long way. We think he’s going to be a really good player for us. Sometimes the sort of clock doesn’t start exactly when the player wants to. He's proven at the Triple A level that he's capable of helping a major league team. That’s going to happen. We just don’t know exactly when."
Of course, a trade remains possible, especially once teams report to spring training and get a closer look at their catching situation. But there's a catch (pardon the pun): Saltalamacchia is eligible for free agency after this season, so the potential return for him wouldn't be as substantial as it would for Lavarnway, who remains under club control for the next six seasons. And despite the switch-hitting power that resulted in 25 homers last season, Saltalamacchia has a few obvious shortcomings, including a low on-base percentage (.288 in each of the past two seasons) and spotty defense.
After what we saw of Lavarnway last season, he shouldn't be anywhere near Fenway for at least the first half of 2013. I don't care if he performs well in Ft. Myers, he needs to get things sorted out and back to where he was in 2010 and 2011.
Lavarnway has the characteristics of a number 1 MLB catcher, but all of those characteristics were tucked away in 2012. He is still young (25) and has that room to work in Pawtucket and still make an impact in Boston at a relatively young age.
Trade talks will likely surround the position, but keeping Lavarnway in the Red Sox system is what they plan to do. Salty will be a free agent in 2014 and David Ross will probably not stick around as the number one guy.
2013 is going to be a big year for Lavarnway. If he can bounce back, the job in Boston is his in 2014. If not, the Red Sox may not want to spend more time on trying to get him major league ready, and trade talks could be a possibility.
Let's see what happens...
The rest of the links:
Globe: Cherington chats about contracts | Saltalamacchia set to be Red Sox No. 1 catcher | Five questions the Red Sox have to address in spring training | A new start for the Red Sox | CSNNE: Cherington covers the bases | Red Sox announce 2013 non-roster invitees | Herald: Boucing up is hard to do | Bumper crop on farm should prove major boost for Red Sox |