In a somewhat odd deal, the Red Sox have avoided arbitration with Jarrod Saltalamacchia by agreeing to a one year deal worth a reported $2.5 million. While he was worth an above average 2.5 fWAR in 2011, this is his second year of arbitration and the amount seems more than what many including I expected.
I expected $2 million as an absolute ceiling and had heard $1.5 or $1.6 million as a solid target. Salty beat this by a clear million dollars. In any other season that might not seem like much, but in 2012 the Red Sox are pinching every penny. Could an extra million be enough to have signed Hiroki Kuroda?
It’s always a positive to work out a deal before arbitration and save the struggle that results in arbitration, but you never want to just waste money to do that. Hopefully, Salty can repeat the value he added in 2011, but it’s very possible that by the end of 2012 Ryan Lavarnway is the number one catcher and this contract looks worse.