Red Sox are shopping Saltalamacchia, but could deal Lavarnway

In a report for the Providence Journal, Tim Britton says now that the Red Sox have signed David Ross to a two-year deal, “that leaves the door open” for Boston to move either Jarrod Saltalamacchia or Ryan Lavarnway this winter.

“The markets for each player would differ, since Saltalamacchia would fit more with a win-now approach while Lavarnway is more of a long-term solution behind the plate,” Britton writes.

Britton says Lavarnway would make sense for the Mets, saying they “are looking for a right-handed hitter to split time (or perhaps play the majority of the time) with incumbent Josh Thole,” and while the Mets could look to deal one of R.A. Dickey and Jon Niese this winter, Lavarnway wouldn’t be enough for a deal.

However, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports says Boston has been shopping Saltalamacchia for weeks, indicating their desire to keep Lavarnway for the long-term.

Michael Baron, Contributor

Yesterday, I said Saltalamacchia has two years of arbitration left, but he actually only has one, and can become a free agent after the 2013 season. And so, the logical move would be to shop Saltalamacchia over Lavarnway as a result. The Red Sox are very high on Lavarnway, he has improved greatly behind the plate as he’s developed, and is the inexpensive, long-term option over Saltalamacchia for the Red Sox. Like I said yesterday, teams seek to develop players like Lavarnway even though there are no guarantees because good catching is so hard to come by in this game.

I agree with Britton in that Lavarnway makes a lot of sense for the Mets. He is an exciting prospect, and if he continues to develop and can produce power comparable to his overall Minor League numbers (his numbers did slip with Pawtucket in 2012), he would be their long-term solution behind the plate. But I wonder if the Mets could be looking for more of an established catching presence at this point in time. They need someone who can work productively towards the development of their young pitchers, and I’m not sure Lavarnway fits the bill from that standpoint.

As far as dealing either Niese or Dickey for Lavarnway or Saltalamacchia goes, I would expect Boston would have to offer significantly more in order to make a deal work. In fact, I’m not sure I’d deal either pitcher for either one of these catchers.

Previous updates on Ryan Lavarnway...

Stats: In 46 games for the Red Sox in 2012, Lavarnway, 25, hit .157 with two home runs and 12 RBI with 11 walks and 41 strikeouts in 166 plate appearances.

Lavarnway hit 32 home runs with 93 RBI in 116 games between Double-A Portland and Triple-A Pawtucket in 2011, and hit eight home runs in 319 at-bats for Pawtucket before the Red Sox promoted him in 2012.

Contract: Lavarnway will be arbitration eligible for the first time in 2015, and can become a free agent after the 2017 season.

Previous updates on Jarrod Saltalamacchia...

Stats: In 121 games for the Red Sox in 2012, Saltalamacchia hit .221 with a .288 OBP and a .454 SLG, 25 home runs and 59 RBI in 448 plate appearances.

Contract: Saltalamacchia, 27, signed a one-year, $2.5 million contract to avoid arbitration in his second year of eligibility. He can become a free agent after the 2013 season.

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