Arizona Diamondbacks add Jarrod Saltalamacchia to catching depth
PHOENIX — For as well as Arizona Diamondbacks catchers have handled themselves behind the plate, it’s how they’ve handled themselves at the plate, with a bat in their hands, that has raised some concerns.
Between starter Tuffy Gosewisch and backups Jordan Pacheco and Gerald Laird, who is currently on the disabled list after back surgery, D-backs catchers rank 12th in hitting (.219), 10th in runs scored (eight) and ninth in RBI (11) among their National League counterparts.
Combine that production, or lack thereof, with what the team is not getting from second base (.217) and shortstop (.183) and manager Chip Hale is looking at more than a third of his lineup failing to provide any semblance of offense.
“That’s kind of our original plan was we didn’t necessarily need a whole lot of offense out of that (catching) position, but we need the other guys to contribute,” he said Thursday prior to the series opener against San Diego.
Earlier, with an eye towards upgrading the catching position, the D-backs agreed to terms on a minor league deal with veteran Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
The 30-year-old had been released by Miami after opening the season 2-for-29 with 12 strikeouts, one double and one home run.
Over his nine-year career, Saltalamacchia has appeared in 718 games, hitting .240 with 90 home runs and 320 RBI.
He was due to report to Salt River Fields and then join Triple-A Reno, according to Hale.
The news of Saltalamacchia’s signing spread quickly inside the D-backs’ clubhouse.
“There’s nothing I can really do about it,” Gosewisch said. “I can go out and play and play as well as I can and control what I do on the field, that’s about it.
“I feel like I’ve played pretty well. I feel like I’ve caught well. I feel like I’ve had a solid approach at the plate. Results haven’t been there, so far, but I think we’ve got a long season. We’re only a month in.”
The D-backs are paying Saltalamacchia the pro-rated portion of the major-league minimum, while Miami is responsible for the $14.2 million remaining on his contract.
In other words, the move made sense.
“It’s about winning,” Hale said, “and we’re going to do whatever we can as an organization to win. And whenever there’s guys out there that we think can help us win, we will go after them.”