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Agent: ‘No medical issues hindering [Jarrod Saltalamacchia's] market’

11.27.13 at 2:17 pm ET
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Agent Jim Munsey, who represents free agent catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, denied a suggestion by ESPN’s Buster Olney on WEEI that medical concerns might be at the heart of the slow-developing market for his client’s services. Olney wondered if the decision by some clubs in search of catching help to turn elsewhere might be a function of any health issues in the 28-year-old’s medical dossier.

“I think the big question about Saltalamacchia — and believe me, you hear a lot of different things about a lot of different guys and I don’t know what’s in Jarrod’s file — but in some cases, some of the intransigence in the market is related to whatever’s in the medical file,” said Olney. “We saw it last winter with Mike Napoli where not only did the Red Sox reduce their file down to one year and $5 million but no other team jumped in based on the same information. With catchers, it’s certainly going to be one of the first things you’re going to look at. It says a lot that you have the Cubs and a number of other teams that are out there potentially looking at catchers, no one’s jumping up.”

Munsey denied that teams in general — and the Cubs in particular — had raised concerns about Saltalamacchia’s health.

“Salty has just finished his third straight year without being on the DL, which makes him different from both [Brian] McCann and [Carlos] Ruiz,” Munsey said in a statement, referencing free agents who had agreed to deals of five and three years this winter. “There are no medical issues hindering his market. Specifically, the Cubs are simply allocating funds elsewhere and don’t believe they could compete for what is believed to be Salty’s market and have an excellent catcher [Wellington Castillo] in place already. There was simply no discussion whatever with them about any medical issue. None. To speculate otherwise is pretty irresponsible. To conclude that no one is ‘jumping up’ would likewise be speculative. Some agents prefer to perform their responsibilities outside of the media spotlight. Just because you’re not hearing it doesn’t mean it’s not happening.”

Saltalamacchia hit .273/.338/.466 with 14 homers and 40 doubles while playing in 121 regular season games in 2013. According to multiple industry sources, he’s been in search of a deal of at least three years. While the Red Sox have been in dialogue with Munsey, according to sources, they have shown a clear preference to limit the term of any deals for catchers (whether Ruiz, whom they pursued, or Saltalamacchia) to two years given the team’s belief that prospects Christian Vazquez (who will open the year in Triple-A) and Blake Swihart (who will start 2014 in Double-A) represent future starting options.

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