The Miami Marlins moved to strengthen the heart of their lineup on Tuesday, signing free agent catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
The Miami Herald reported that Saltalamacchia's deal is worth $21 million over three seasons, without a no-trade clause. It will not become official until Saltalamacchia undergoes a physical examination, as is typical with such deals.
The 28-year-old Saltalamacchia is a switch-hitter and six-year veteran formerly of the Boston Red Sox. He has also played with the Texas Rangers and Atlanta Braves. Atlanta selected Saltalamacchia in the first round of the 2003 MLB draft.
His addition could bring badly-needed pop to the Marlins. In 2013, Miami catchers combined to hit .192 with 10 home runs, 20 doubles, and 44 walks against 171 stikeouts.
In 2013 Saltalamacchia hit .273 with a .466 slugging percentage, 14 home runs, and 40 doubles for the Red Sox. He is a career .246 hitter but his power numbers improved after he was traded in 2010 to Boston (who plays in a very hitter-friendly park).
Saltalamacchia is not as strong on defense, though. He gave up the most stolen bases for two straight seasons with the Red Sox, and his career caught-stealing percentage is an anemic 23 percent.
The Marlins relied on a platoon of Jeff Mathis and Rob Brantly at catcher last season. Mathis will likely slide into a backup role, with Brantly potentially starting the 2014 season in the minors.
Saltalamacchia was born in West Palm Beach, and still has a home there.