As James McCann returns from the DL, it’s time to take a look back at the past month and appreciate just how great Jarrod Saltalamacchia was.
When the Tigers traded Byran Holaday to the Texas Rangers just before the season, it became clear that Saltalamacchia was the designated No. 2 catcher on the Tigers roster. Then, when McCann was placed on the DL on April 12, Saltalamacchia was thrust into the starting role.
Now, nearly a month later, it’s weird that we won’t be seeing Saltalmacchia behind the plate every night, and a bit concerning that we may be missing his big bat in the lineup.
While Saltalamacchia has cooled off over the past week or so, as of today, he still sits atop the rankings for catchers in RBIs (16) and second in HR’s (6). Among the big names he’s ahead of in each category are Buster Posey, Brian McCann and Yadier Molina.
With all this said, it’s legitimately not an exaggeration to say that Saltalamacchia might have the best contract in the MLB.
This offseason, the Tigers signed Saltalamacchia for the league minimum at just $507,500. In comparison, the catchers we mention above in Posey ($20.7 million), McCann ($17 million) and Molina ($14.2 million) are getting paid at least 27 times more than Saltalamacchia. The fact that he can play first base in a pinch also helps his value to the Tigers should Miguel Cabrera be unavailable for a certain stretch of time.
While he’s not going to get as many at bats and his stats will consequently drop, there’s no doubt that the Tigers made the right choice in keeping Saltalamacchia, especially for the price.