We need a catcher. (any objections with that statement??! .. Good moving on.)
I'd love McCann, Pierzynski would do as well, same with Chooch, but I think AA will definitely target Saltalamacchia through free agency.
1) He didn't receive a qualifying offer from the Red Sox. (No loss of our 2nd-round draft pick)
2) He just won a World Series, and has tasted post-season baseball.
3) He's coming off a great year. And being a switch-hitter doesn't hurt.
4) He knows the AL East, and the wealth of productive batters we'll face on a brutally frequent basis.
5) He'll come cheaper than McCann and probably Pierzynski.
6) He played for Boston, and it'd be great to steal away the player who knows their pitching staff the best, much like Boston was able to do when Farrell essentially dumped us to go back to his old girlfriend.
7) AND POSSIBLY MOST INTERESTINGLY.... He can catch a knuckleballer!
To elaborate on #7, Saltalamacchia was Tim Wakefield's primary catcher in his last two seasons in Boston. Ideally Salty could catch Dickey, so we wouldn't have to carry Thole on the big-league roster.
We all know that AA likes to try to exploit the greatest value out of his players. I actually believe that AA's little devotion to Arencibia may still lead to JP remaining with the club for 2014 to try to regain some value, and thus, give AA the opportunity to deal him for something of value. At present, Arencibia's trade value is probably non-existent, or at the very least severely damaged. I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to see AA bring in Salty, and carry him and Arencibia in a bit of a 3-2 split. Not ideal, but I could definitely see this situation being discussed within the front office. Unfortunately neither guy is a plus defender, but how many plus defending-plus offensive catchers are available, outside of McCann. In every year but last, JP has hit lefties better than righties, so a bit of a platoon might not be the worst thing. Although Salty is a switch-hitter, he's much better vs. RHPs.
Have Saltalamacchia catch Dickey and start against RHPs, and have JP start vs. LHPs.
I don't know if it'll work out this way, but it's food for thought.