MMO Mailbag: Trading For Saltalamacchia Or Lavarnway?

Alex asks…

The Red Sox just signed David Ross as a catcher and are also said to be going after Mike Napoli. That tells me that Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ryan Lavarnway are certainly available. Which one would be a better target for the Mets and what would the cost be?

Sean replies…

Both of these players are interesting, but both have their issues and they would not be the final answer for the Mets, but possibly a stopgap for another year or two.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia can hit for power – but sadly, his strong suit is hitting for power against RHP’s, and he drowns against LHP’s. He is all power and no plate discipline, which will always keep his BA down. Defensively, he is nothing special and is somehow worse than Josh Thole at throwing out runners. Salty would make a good platoon partner for a right-handed catcher who struggled against righties. Outside of that, he only adds power to the Mets.

Ryan Lavarnway has yet to prove himself at the MLB level, and despite being able to hit for power and draw walks in the minors, has yet to see those skills carry over to the MLB level. Many scouts are not convinced he is a catcher in the long run, and I have yet to see enough of Ryan to be able to say he can’t stick at catcher. He is only 25, and has well below 300 MLB AB’s.

If the Red Sox were to accept a lower-level prospect (Travis Taijeron, Taylor Whitenton) or a utility guy (Lutz, Satin), it would be more worth it for the Mets to look at Lavarnway. Saltalamacchia can only hit righties, while Lavarnway can still amass AB’s and see if he can hit righties.