When you identify a player who fits, but the bidding grows frenzied and insane, what do you do? You investigate alternatives, of course. And for the Yankees, one of those alternatives is a catcher willing to sign soon, Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

Early in the first week of free agency, the market for Brian McCann, the best available catcher, is robust. The Yankees are among the teams who consider McCann an ideal fit, and are willing to pay lavishly for his services; McCann, in turn, is interested in the Yankees.

But like all free agents, he is primarily interested in years and dollars -- and, according to major league sources, the Texas Rangers and Boston Red Sox are early rivals for McCann, with Texas identified as a team with particularly strong interest. Those monied clubs could be joined by others, and will make McCann expensive. Some executives predict that the longtime Atlanta Brave will be paid more than $100 million, a figure that one baseball official called “insane.”

Enter the man called Salty, who is well-positioned as the best and youngest available alternative to McCann. Saltalamacchia is a year McCann's junior, and posted comparable offensive numbers last year for Boston. His reputation as a defender is not nearly as sterling as McCann’s -- a few plays in the World Series, combined with an offensive slump, landed him on the bench while David Ross finished the job -- but he is regarded by some evaluators as improving.

In 2013, Saltalamacchia hit .273/.338/.466 in 2013, while McCann hit .256/.336/.451. Over the course of their respective careers, McCann has been a decisively better player, but the gap is not as vast, at this moment at least, as some might perceive.

Also, McCann’s lefty power is part of what makes him appealing to the Yankees, and perfect for their stadium. Saltalamacchia, a switch-hitter, is much stronger from the left side than the right; 62 of his 78 career home runs have come as a lefthanded hitter.

Add to all that a development on Monday that might have slapped Saltalamacchia in the ego, but will inflate his bank account: The Red Sox declined to make the catcher a qualifying offer, so teams can sign him without surrendering a draft pick, which is not the case with McCann.

Saltalamacchia was a bit surprised by Boston’s decision, but now finds himself a true free agent. “In light of that, he’s out there for all 30 teams,” the catcher’s agent, James Munsey, said on Tuesday. “That includes the Red Sox, but they are one of 30.”

How, I asked Munsey, will his client approach free agency now? “He is going to say, ‘I’m going to listen to what people have to say. I’m willing to go to whoever offers me the most security,’” Munsey said.

Saltalamacchia is not concerned with waiting for McCann to sign and establish a market. He is willing to choose his new team any time, provided that a club makes what he considers a strong offer.