Detroit Tigers general manager Al Avila made some smart offseason acquisitions. One new addition who’s thrived is catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
Detroit Tigers catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia could probably be a full-time starter somewhere else in the league. The man more commonly referred to as “Salty” has always been able to drive in runs thanks to his ability to hit the long ball. The catcher has reached double digits in home runs five different times in his career.
What’s more, he’s also a reliable defensive presence behind the dish. During Detroit’s opening series in Miami, the catcher threw out speed merchant Dee Gordon, who was trying to steal second.
With James McCann out for the near future, Saltalamacchia has had, and will continue to have, the chance to be the team’s primary catcher. If the veteran can continue to produce like he has in the past week, Detroit won’t be seriously affected by McCann’s absence.
In fact, it could probably be argued Saltalamacchia has been an offensive upgrade since he’s been regularly inserted into the starting nine. During a six-game run last week, the former Ranger only hit .238, but his timely power paid big dividends for the Tigers.
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The catcher’s second home run of the season came in a 7-3 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates. Saltalamacchia deposited a pitch from the hard-throwing Arquimedes Caminero into the right field seats. The blast came with the bases load and gave the Tigers a lead they wouldn’t surrender.
Salty’s next home run was also a game changer. Down by a score of 3-2 in the sixth inning, the 30-year-old took Collin McHugh deep. He plated Nick Castellanos on the play, which would eventually hand Justin Verlander his first win of the season.
While the 10-year veteran’s third home run of the week (and second in consecutive games) didn’t hand the Tigers a victory, it brought them in a position to potentially grab a win. The catcher’s solo home run off Mike Fiers in the fifth inning of Sunday’s contest put Detroit on the board. It also paved the way for a two-run shot from Ian Kinsler later in the inning.
Not only has Saltalamacchia gotten the Detroit Tigers back into games, he’s also added a significant amount of length to an already potent lineup. If he were a full-time start, he would give Detroit seven players who are legitimate threats to reach 20 home runs and 70 RBI—and they hit all hit together. Ian Kinsler, Justin Upton, Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez, J.D. Martinez and Nick Castellanos are the other threats, and Salty’s addition to the lineup just makes the group that much more fearsome.