Sporting new uni, Salty looks back on time with Sox
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Wearing a Marlins jersey with his familiar No. 39 on the back, Jarrod Saltalamacchia spoke reflectively on Monday about his time with the Red Sox.
Though he would have liked to stay, he understands the business side of the game.
The Marlins offered him three years, something the Red Sox, who have young catchers in the pipeline, weren't willing to do.
"I loved my time there," said Saltalamacchia. "We had talked, we were in conversations up until the last day. I think the Marlins came in and really just kind of took over with the way they were treating me, the way they put it out there to me. And then, looking at that young pitching staff, looking at the young players, you know, I just don't think that there was any other choice but the one I had to make, and that was coming here."
The Red Sox moved on with a short-term solution, signing A.J. Pierzynski for one year.
"I was a little bit [surprised]," Saltalamacchia said of leaving Boston. "But at the same time, they're in a different situation. I'm not in all the meetings. I don't know what their plans are in the future. I didn't see a lot of the players besides up at the big league level, so I understand that there's a lot of thought process that goes into it and a lot of different things. You know, I wasn't hurt by it. I'm in a good place. At the end of the day, that's kind of what's important."
Though winning the World Series was an accomplishment he will savor, Saltalamacchia admits that being replaced by David Ross as the starter for the final three games made the end a little bittersweet.
"It was tough, but I think it was more tough because I wasn't sure if that was the last time I was going to wear the Red Sox jersey, and I think a lot of players play their career wanting to see what it's like to be able to play for a team with such history, and so many Hall of Famers that played for that team," Saltalamacchia said. "You know, I think back that it's fortunate I was able to do that. I just enjoyed being able to get ready to run on the field and watch all those guys that I battled with all year."
Manager John Farrell expressed appreciation for what Saltalamacchia gave during his three-plus seasons in Boston.
"Well, one, he never shied away from any work that was needed," said Farrell. "He cares about the guy on the mound. I think he embodies everything you're looking for in a catcher, and that is, 'What do we do from a pitching-catching standpoint?' versus anything offensively that he would contribute. He had a great year offensively for us. His priority has always been the guy on the mound.
"He worked hard at shortening up his transfer time ... becoming a little more efficient in his blocking. At the same time, he's working on two different swings. There is a lot on his plate. You know, to his credit, he was able to see what his market was, and he did a great job for us."
As for Saltalamacchia, he takes pride in the strides he made in Boston after coming over from Texas.
"I was sitting in Triple-A," said Saltalamacchia. "I was a frustrated younger player that felt like I deserved to be in the big leagues. It kind of changed my thought process. I was able to meet a lot of people that got me on the right track that I needed to be on, and concentrating on what's important -- and that's just controlling what you can control."