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Sunday, November 11, 2012
Olney's take on Sox catching situation

By ESPNBoston.com

ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney checks in Sunday morning on the Red Sox catching situation Insider, which got more interesting Saturday with the signing of long-time backup David Ross. The Sox now have a surplus of backstops: Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Ryan Lavarnway and now Ross. Here are some highlights from Olney's take:

* A lot of what Boston does with its catching depends on what the Red Sox are saying in their internal evaluations of Saltalamacchia and Lavarnway, and whether they really see either as the guy as a frontline catcher in 2014 and 2015.

* While the 25-year-old Lavarnway has intriguing power -- he hit 32 homers in the minors in 2011 -- some rival evaluators have some serious questions about whether he can be a catcher in the major leagues, just as some have never viewed Jesus Montero as someone who could play the position. "I've never seen a catcher with actions that slow," said one evaluator of Lavarnway. "Ever."

* From a longtime evaluator: "The Red Sox don't think they have the right everyday guy on their roster. Salty is too inconsistent behind the plate and struggles hitting left-handed pitching. Lavarnway has to hit a lot to be the everyday guy to make up for his below-average defense, which is a big question because of how his offensive season went in 2012. [David] Ross is a good sign for them, but he is a guy you can't overexpose.

* The guess here is that Boston will go with Saltalamacchia and Ross, while continuing Lavarnway's development in the minors.