The Marlins have been absolutely brutal to Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Right in between returning from paternity leave and the dude's birthday, Miami designated their rather expensive catcher for assignment, making him available for trade. Now that's salty.
Saltalamacchia is owed $15M over this and next season, though presumably the Marlins would eat some cash along the way. The other teams interested in the catcher are Arizona and Kansas City.
TB AZ and KC are 3 of 6 teams talking about salty. Surprisingly, no Boston. #salty #fish— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) April 29, 2015
Among those teams mentioned, KC seems to be the most likely destination in my mind, and Arizona the biggest need, but let's compare the players in question for Tampa Bay.
Using the numbers over at StatCorner, which is free to the public, here are how the most recent seasons for the three lead catchers on the Rays depth chart in framing.
zBall% = balls called within the zone
oStr% = strikes called outside the zone
Our sample size isn't robust for Wilson, but he was anticipated to be neutral at worst in framing and has been about that, with -0.1 Runs contributed with the glove. Casali did well as a replacement last year, Arencibia is two years removed from a top-ten performance in 2013 with a 14.9 RAA that season.
Saltalamacchia, meanwhile, was literally the worst catcher at framing in 2014.
None of the four hitters have great hitting sample sizes to compare for recent history either. Wilson has 23 PA's, and Casali has 84 PA's at the MLB level in the last two years. Arencibia has 222 PA's and a meager 64 wRC+, but that came on a .195 BAbip. Saltalamacchia has a 33% strikeout rate and 86 wRC+ for 468 PA's.
Perhaps Casali could put up his great minor league offensive numbers eventually, but for now he's in the minors. Arencibia has never posted a wRC+ above 91, though he can hit dingers.
I went to look at splits to see if that told me anything, but nothing materialized to say Salty is better. Saltalamacchia is technically a switch hitter, but clearly best suited to face right handed pitching (career 107 wRC+, league average in 2014), while Arencibia is only close to league average against southpaws.
If the Rays were looking for someone to share some of the load against righties, alongside the right handed Rivera, I suppose Salty has that going for him.
I just don't see a strong case here.