The more I think about it the more I think the Red Sox will be going with a combination of David Ross and Ryan Lavarnway at catcher next season with Lavarnway getting about 3 out of 5 starts. Why do I think this?
I think it is becoming clear that Boston isn't interested in having Jarrod Saltalamacchia back. They could have offered him a qualifying offer of $14.1 million but they didn't do that because doing so would have meant any team signing him would have lost a draft pick. The Red Sox seemingly wanted to make it easier for another team to sign him. The Red Sox have also made it clear they aren't prepared to go beyond a 2-year deal for Salty. With Carlos Ruiz getting 3 years from the Phillies and Brian McCann getting 5 years from the Yankees - Salty is bound to get a 4-year deal from someone. Sticking with the 2-year offer and making that public is akin to begging another team to sign him.
Why do this is they aren't comfortable with Lavarnway?
Some have mentioned Boston making a trade for a backstop. Ryan Hanigan from the Reds? Sure he would probably come cheap and is a very good defender but does that defense improvement mean more than the better offense you'd gain from Lavarnway? Plus even though it would only cost a B-level prospect that's still a cost and then it would put you in a position of still having Lavarnway hanging around waiting to get his at bats. Chris Iannetta from the Angels? Why? He doesn't have the offensive potential of Lavarnway and he will cost $10 million in salary over they next two seasons.
When you add it up - the answer comes back that the Red Sox will be going with David Ross and Ryan Lavarnway next season at catcher. John Farrell has already said he thinks Ross is good for about 60 starts. That leaves about a 100 starts for Lavarnway. They must feel comfortable with him.
I do too.