The Red Sox are coming off a rather successful season that had them within two wins from the World Series. Unfortunately their World Series hopes were crushed by the Astros. At the conclusion of the Fall Classic, chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom has some decisions to make regarding his roster. One of those decisions is whether or not to bring back Christian Vazquez?
The Red Sox hold a $7 million option on Vazquez for next season. The veteran catcher is hoping that the Sox pick up his 2022 contract option.
“I hope they take it,” Vázquez told MassLive’s Christopher Smith. “I like it here. This is my home from 14 years ago. I hope we can do whatever to stay here. I love it here. This is my home.”
Vazquez is in his 14th season with the Red Sox organization. The right-handed hitting catcher was drafted by Boston back in 2008.
Vazquez struggled at the plate this season but despite the offensive struggles, his price tag is reasonable for a starting catcher. The homegrown catcher hit .258 this season with six home runs, driving in 49 RBIs with a .308/.352/.659 slash line.
Will Chaim Bloom bring back Christian Vazquez?
As underwhelming as the idea of bringing Christian Vazquez might be, the free agent catching market is even more underwhelming.
— Bill (aka “Sawx South”) (@SawxSouth) October 25, 2021
During the Red Sox press conference with the media on Monday regarding the offseason, Bloom may have indicated that he will bring back the veteran.
“We know this is a really hard position to not only find somebody who’s physically capable, but is also just mentally and emotionally capable of carrying that load,” he said. “We have a guy who has done that. He has done that all the way to the end of the season. He is a really important guy to us and we know how much the organization means to him. It’s a hard position to check all the boxes and you don’t take for granted when you have someone who has shown that he can do it.”
The Red Sox could bring back Vazquez and explore trading him during the winter. The Sox have some catching options within the system with Connor Wong and Ronaldo Hernandez. Both aren’t likely to be starting options for the Sox for next season. If Bloom elects to move on from Vazquez by declining his option or possibly trading him, he can add a stop gap through free agency. Bloom could look to Rays catcher Mike Zunino or Reds backstop Tucker Barnhart as stop gap options.
Despite Vazquez’s declining offensive numbers at the plate it appears he remains the most logical option for the Sox. The Red Sox could look to decrease the amount of games he plays for the upcoming season to keep him fresh. If Bloom and Manager Alex Cora decide to do that, can Kevin Plawecki contribute consistently?
Plawecki is a clubhouse leader and the man behind the Calum Scott’s “Dancing on My Own Movement”. Vazquez’s backup has thrived during his two seasons with the Red Sox.
“He’s always had ability, going back to the draft. His bat, especially for the position, is good. He puts together a good at-bat. He’s short to the ball. And we saw him as a guy who had a lot of different components that could add up to success and they just hadn’t come together. So we thought we might have runway to try to put those together.
“What’s happened is he’s had good success on the field. He’s also become a real big part of our clubhouse,” said Bloom.
The Sox should look to pick up Vazquez’s option and explore other options in the meantime. Both players are well liked and respected by the players and coaches in the clubhouse. The idea of Vazquez coming back isn’t entirely appetizing based off his performance the past two seasons. This thin free agent catching market doesn’t offer any major upgrades.
In the end, Bloom should bring back Vazquez.
– Chris Henrique (@ChrisHenrique on Twitter)
Feature image courtesy of MassLive.com
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