Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Jarrod Saltalamacchia is the more interesting decision of the two because there are two conflicting storylines happening with him.
First, according to Jack Magruder of Fanragsports, Saltalamacchia has already elected to become a free agent, and has indicated to the D-backs that he wants to test the open market and pursue a chance to start everyday, something that he really wants to do.
With Wellington Castillo penciled in as the starter for the Snakes in 2016, the D-backs can’t offer him that. If you combine that with how important a catcher is to winning in baseball (Royals this year), and the many of teams looking for a backstop (Rockies, Twins, Angels, White Sox), there is a good chance that one of those teams will give him the chance to start.
However, the D-backs have already indicated a desire to bring Saltalamacchia back for depth purposes as the backup to Castillo. The team really doesn’t know when Tuffy Gosewisch will be ready after he just came off the 60-day D.L. Plus, Salty and Castillo were a great tandem during the season’s second half.
On top of that, Salty turned into a valuable lefty bat off the bench for Chip Hale, something the team has been lacking in previous years. Across 29 plate apperances in that role, he hit .308 with a .764 OPS.
Saltalamacchia made $507,000 after signing a contract with Arizona last May. This deal was a Minors deal, and while he was on the MLB roster, he was only being payed the pro-rated league minimum. If the D-backs extend a qualifying offer and he accepts it, he will be making way more than the team payed him last year.
However, based on his desire to test the open market, I would not extend the qualifying offer. There is too much risk involved and he will get better offers elsewhere. A backup catcher should be better defensively than what Salty brought to the table.
Next: Is he worth it in the bullpen?