Sox acquire catcher Saltalamacchia for two minor leaguers
|07.31.10 at 4:56 pm ET|
The Red Sox acquired catcher Jarrod Salatalamacchia from the Texas Rangers in exchange for minor-league right-hander Roman Mendez, first baseman Chris McGuinness, a player to be named and cash considerations.
The Sox have long been interested in the 25-year-old Saltalamacchia, attempting to acquire him in deals with the Atlanta Braves (Boston balked when told that it would take Jon Lester to make the deal) and the Rangers. The switch-hitting catcher has was placed on the 15-day disabled list shortly after opening day due to stiffness in his back. He’s had just five big league at-bats this year, collecting one hit.
He required surgery over the offseason to correct Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, and when he returned, he experienced problems throwing the ball back to the pitcher. But he is now healthy, and Sox GM Theo Epstein said that he has been throwing both to the pitcher and to bases reasonably well.
He has been in Triple-A since returning, hitting .244/.326/.445/.771 in 63 games for Oklahoma City. The Sox have optioned him to Triple-A Pawtucket. The Sox are hopeful that he may be able to tap into his significant potential with a change of scenery.
In 240 career big league games, he is a .251 hitter with a .313 OBP, .388 slugging mark, .701 OPS and 23 homers in 874 plate appearances. Though his recent numbers have been unimpressive, he is considered a potentially above-average bat for a catcher, though there have been questions about his ability to stay at catcher for the long term.
Mendez is the highest ceiling prospect whom the Sox are moving. Mendez, who turned 20 on Sunday, was dominant in his U.S. debut in 2009, producing a 1.99 ERA and striking out 47 while walking eight in the Gulf Coast League.
This year, however, he has struggled. He started the year at Single-A Greenville, but that assignment was short-lived after he got off to an 0-2 start with an 11.40 ERA, striking out 18 and walking 10 in 15 innings. He was sent to extended spring training and then reassigned to the Lowell Spinners, for whom he is 2-3 with a 4.36 ERA with 35 strikeouts and 19 walks in 33 innings.
Mendez, who is listed at 6-foot-2 and 180 pounds, features a big arm, occasionally touching the mid-90s with his fastball while still working to develop a secondary arsenal. The development of a secondary arsenal could make him an impressive starting pitching prospect, though at the least, his fastball suggests the potential of a late-innings reliever.
McGuiness is an advanced hitter whom the Red Sox described as being “Youkilish” when they drafted him out of The Citadel in the 13th round in 2009. He was hitting .298/.416/.504/.920 with 12 homers and 46 RBI in 78 games for Single-A Greenville this year.
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