The Miami Marlins announced on Tuesday that they had released veteran catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, despite his hefty contract.
It was a bitter pill for the team to swallow after designating him for assignment eight days ago and then furiously negotiating with reportedly as many as five teams in an attempt to get any salary relief they could in return for him before a 2:00PM EST deadline yesterday would force them to either take him back or grant him his release.
But in the end, his hefty remaining contract and poor production scared interested parties off; and likewise convinced the Miami franchise to part ways with the 6-foot-4, 235-pound South Florida native for whom they'd held such high hopes when they signed him just 17 months ago to a three-year, $21 million deal that paid him $6 million last year, $7 million this year and $8 million in 2016. He's owed approximately $7 million for the remaining portion of this season.
At the time, Saltalamacchia was seen as a homegrown product who had emerged for the World Champion Red Sox as that elusive animal known as the offensive weapon who can play catcher. He was a switch-hitter who'd batted .273, banged 14 home runs and rang up 65 RBI the prior season and had hit 25 home runs the season before. By his veteran presence and championship experience, he was expected to lead the team's youthful core by example.
But almost from his first day in Miami, "Salty" went sour. He batted .222 with a .357 slugging percentage last season that was the worst among all starting catchers in MLB, and his 15 errors were the most by any catcher in 11 years. In 29 at bats over nine games this season he had just two hits for a.069 BA and lost his job to top prospect J.T. Realmuto. In the end, his .209/.310/.351 Miami slashline was an unacceptable facsimile of the .243/.307/.455 Boston player the Marlins thought they were buying.