By STEVEN WINE
AP Sports Writer
MIAMI (AP) _ Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia is going from the World Series champions to a team that lost 100 games.
Saltalamacchia has agreed to a $21 million, three-year deal with the Miami Marlins, two people familiar with the negotiations said Tuesday. The people confirmed the agreement to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the contract had not been finalized.
Saltalamacchia started the past three seasons for the Boston Red Sox, who were reluctant to offer him a multiyear deal. The switch-hitter batted a career-high .273 with 15 homers, 40 doubles and 65 RBIs last season. He hit .188 in the postseason and was benched during the World Series.
The Marlins will count on Saltalamacchia to give their offense a much-needed boost. Miami ranked last in the majors in 2013 in runs and batting, and their catchers batted only .194 and totaled nine home runs, with Jeff Mathis, Rob Brantly and Miguel Olivo sharing the job.
Mathis is expected to return next season as a backup.
“Welcome to Miami Jarrod!” Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton tweeted. “Marlins need water that’s Salty.”
Under terms of the agreement with Saltalamacchia, he’ll make $6 million in 2014, $7 million in 2015 and $8 million in 2016. He becomes by far the highest-paid player for the Marlins, who had the lowest payroll in the NL last season at $45 million and are expected to be in that vicinity in 2014.
The 28-year-old Saltalamacchia made $4.5 million last season. He’s the first catcher to agree to a multiyear deal with the Marlins since John Buck, who signed an $18 million, three-year deal in 2011 and was traded a year ago.
Saltalamacchia grew up in West Palm Beach, Fla., not far from the Marlins’ spring training complex in Jupiter. He’s a career .246 hitter with 73 homers in 595 games.
AP Sports Writer Ron Blum in New York contributed to this report.
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