The Detroit Tigers have agreed to a one-year contract with catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, according to MLB.com's Jason Beck. General manager Al Avila told reporters that the contract will be "close to the major league minimum," and that Saltalamacchia will compete for a backup catcher spot, behind starter James McCann.
Saltalamacchia is a 30-year-old switch hitter who has played for five different clubs in nine major league seasons. He signed a three-year contract with the Miami Marlins after winning a World Series with the Boston Red Sox in 2013, but was released midway through the 2015 season due to a .209/.310/.351 batting line in 123 games with the Marlins. He signed a minor league deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks in May, and hit .251/.332/.474 in 70 games with them down the stretch.
For his career, Saltalamacchia is a .240/.311/.419 hitter who fares much better against righthanders. His best offensive season came in 2013, when he hit .273/.338/.466 in 470 plate appearances for the Red Sox. However, his defensive reputation is not as sterling. Saltalamacchia has ranked as a below average pitch framer in each of the past three seasons, and he has only thrown out 22 percent of attempted base stealers in his career.
While not as strong defensively as the Tigers' young starter, Saltalamacchia should provide a nice complement to McCann behind the plate. The move adds necessary depth for the Tigers, who were extremely thin at catcher behind backup Bryan Holaday. Catchers are injured quite often, and Saltalamacchia has hit well enough to handle a starter's workload in the past.