The Red Sox are probably not going to make catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia a qualifying offer (one-year, $14.1 million) before Monday’s 5 p.m. deadline, a baseball source said.
If the Sox made the qualifying offer and Saltalamacchia rejected it, whichever team signed him would have to forfeit a draft pick. If the Sox don’t make him a qualifying offer, he becomes an unrestricted free agent. That does not necessarily mean the Red Sox will not re-sign him at a lower figure.
The 28-year-old Saltalamacchia hit .273 with 14 homers and an .804 OPS in the regular season but was benched in favor of David Ross in the World Series after struggling at the plate and in the field.
Ross is still under contract with the Red Sox, as is Ryan Lavarnway, who played in 25 major league games last season and has appeared in 88 games over the past three season. Besides Saltalamacchia, Brian McCann, 29, is the top available free agent. He hit .256 with 20 homers and a .797 OPS in 2013.
The World Series champion Red Sox have qualifying-offer decisions to make on three other key free-agents Monday: Center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, shortstop Stephen Drew and first baseman Mike Napoli.
General manager Ben Cherington and manager John Farrell are scheduled for a news conference this afternoon.