Jarrod Saltalamacchia has a new home, but it is not his old home. The catcher, recently designated for assignment by the Marlins, was picked up by the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday, albeit on a minor league deal, ending the briefest of mid-season free agency stints.
If Saltalamacchia is likely happy to be back in an organization, it is apparently not the organization he'd have chosen. To quote Rob Bradford quoting Saltalamacchia:
"I was definitely hoping to come back," he said. "Some of my best memories in baseball are there, and family-wise. My kids pretty much grew up there. We had our third child there. It's definitely a place that means a lot to me. I was definitely hoping for a reunion, but I understand their situation with Swihart."
Given that this site has played host to a few hundred words detailing why the Red Sox shouldn't bring him back, we certainly can't pretend the feeling is mutual. Even in the wake of the Hanigan injury, Saltalamacchia just isn't a good fit for this team. On the field, Saltalamacchia was frustrating, to say the least, between his poor defense and his inability to make full use of his power due to his tendency to swing at just about anything thrown his way. Even his best season, buoyed as it was by a .372 BABIP, ended with him benched in favor of David Ross for the most important games of the year.
And yet...somehow it seems a shame that there's no place for him here. As frustrating as he was, Saltalamacchia was also easy to cheer for. There's a certain goofiness about him that seems like it would have been at home with the 2004 team (and, granted, did not exactly set him apart from the 2013 edition). Saltalamacchia is the player you wish was better not just because that would help the team, but because it would make it easier to justify keeping him around.
Hopefully things go well for Saltalamacchia in Arizona. He does at least have the skillset needed to be a Major League player given the dearth of offense at catcher. Between that and a league minimum cost to the Diamondbacks, there should be a low bar for fans to accept him over there. Which is good, because having Jarrod Saltalamacchia on your team can be frustrating, but it should also be fun.