Barry Chin/Globe staff
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.
But there’s a fourth candidate for that designation, too — and before you scoff, consider the kind of season Jarrod Saltalamacchia has put together.
The switch-hitting catcher blasted the game-winning grand slam in the seventh inning of an 8-4 victory over the Yankees last night. He’s not going to match last year’s career high of 25 homers, but he has improved his game in pretty much every other way — be it hits (103), doubles (36), or OPS (.788), not to mention behind the plate.
So while the playoffs may be first and foremost on everyone’s mind, the Sox must already be formulating their plan for the offseason. And the more you think about it, the more likely it seems that Salty is a part of it.
“Guys like him don’t come around, guys that can catch and hit for that kind of power,” said backup catcher David Ross. “I think he was very underrated coming into this year, and he’s really come into his own. What did he hit last year, 25 homers? Those guys aren’t around anymore. Those guys are hard to find. It’s definitely a commodity.
“Everyone in here knows how special he is. The public may not know, but everyone in here knows how big a part of the puzzle he is.”
Herald - Sox catcher’s a real keeper
Based on last night's heroics, Jarrod Saltalamacchia is getting his turn in the spotlight this morning. And, like I did last week, I thought it would be appropriate to take a look back at our Ted's Army predictions this past spring to see what we thought about Salty this season.
Not to toot my own horn (OK, solely so I could toot my own horn) I alone chose Salty to be the Sox breakout player this season. No matter your criteria to define "breakout" I don't think I nailed it. He didn't exactly breakout -- but he definitely jumped up a level across the board this season. He's been a better hitter (fewer home runs, way more doubles), and definitely improved behind it. Also worth pointing out that everybody except Tucker had Salty tagged to be the player most likely to be traded mid-season. Not impressed.
The prevailing wisdom was that a) Boston wouldn't be legit contenders this year. Oops. And b) The Sox were really high on Lavarnway and were going to give him the gig. To his credit, Lavarnway has looked much better at the plate in his appearances this season with the Red Sox. Last year he was embarrassing. This year he's competent. Fewer plate appearances, sure, but that's what you hope to see.
But we're at a very different spot in this organization than we were 6 months ago, and very far away than where we assumed we'd be. Despite the roster turnover, well, because of the roster turnover, Boston is set to content for the next few years. Handing the keys to the young'ns is counter-productive. Catcher production is all over the place in baseball. There are very few very good catchers. If you have one you best not let them go.
In March I expected the Sox to trade Salty. Now I want them to lock him up.
Rest of the links:
Herald - Salty slam so sweet | Scary thought: Not done with Yanks yet | Globe - Jarrod Saltalamacchia propels Red Sox | Sox bullpen bends but doesn't break | WEEI - Sox lineup: Salty sits; Gomes, Bogaerts start | The making of a championship catcher: Jarrod Saltalamacchia's 'amazing' emergence as Red Sox pillar | CSNNE - Red Sox reach 90-win milestone | Farrell: Lackey is 'ultimate competitor' | Salty, Sox slam Yankees, 8-4