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AP Source: Red Sox nearing deal for C Pierzynski

BOSTON – Free-agent catcher A.J. Pierzynski agreed to a one-year contract with the Boston Red Sox, a person with knowledge of the negotiations said yesterday.

The deal would be pending a physical. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the team hadn’t finalized the agreement.

While one catcher arrived in Fenway, another is on his way out, as Jarrod Saltalamacchia reportedly landed with the Miami Marlins.

The lefty-hitting Pierzynski and righty David Ross, the backup, both will be 37 next season. With catching prospects Christian Vazquez and Blake Swihart making their way up the system, the Red Sox were reluctant to give a multiyear deal to free agent Saltalamacchia, their starter the past three seasons.

Pierzynski hit .272 with 17 homers and 70 RBI last season, his only one with the Texas Rangers. He walked just 11 times and doesn’t fit the Red Sox preference for patient hitters who work the count. In 2012, he had 27 homers and 28 walks, both career highs.

He spent the previous eight years with the Chicago White Sox, playing in at least 128 games each season, and appeared in all four games when they swept Houston in the 2005 World Series. A two-time All-Star, Pierzynski has a .283 career average with 172 homers and 800 RBI.

Saltalamacchia, a switch-hitter, batted .273 with 15 homers and 65 RBI last season, his highest average since becoming Boston’s starting catcher. But he struck out 139 times in 121 games in each of the past two seasons.

Ross started four of the six games in Boston’s World Series victory over the St. Louis Cardinals. Saltalamacchia went 0-for-6 in the two Series games he played and 6-for-32 (.188) in the postseason.

Yesterday, he agreed to a $21 million, three-year deal with the Miami Marlins, two people familiar with the negotiations said yesterday. The people confirmed the agreement to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the contract had not been finalized.

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.

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.

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