For the fourth time this offseason, Ryan Lavarnway has been designated for assignment. The Red Sox initially let Lavarnway go a few months ago, in an attempt to open some space on the 40-man roster before the November deadline. Since then, he has latched onto (and then been placed into DFA limbo) by the Dodgers, Cubs, and– most recently– the Orioles.
A former top prospect for the Red Sox, Lavarnway gained national recognition when he hit 32 home runs, while slashing .290/.376/.563 in 2011. Lavarnway came up to Boston for a brief cup of coffee at the end of the 2011 season and he looked to have all the makings of a future middle-of-the-order threat for the Red Sox.
However, when 2012 rolled around, Lavarnway’s power mysteriously vanished. He continued to reach base at a high rate, but in 83 games in Pawtucket, his slugging percentage dropped to .439, a far cry from the .563 of the previous season.
The real struggle for Lavarnway came in Boston, though. With the Red Sox well out of the race in the 2012 season, they promoted many of their promising youngsters and started Lavarnway at catcher for much of the last two months of the season. In 46 games for the Red Sox, however, Lavarnway was absolutely terrible. He slashed a miserable .157/.211/.248 with mediocre defense behind the plate, simply looking nowhere near the promising slugger that he had been just a year prior.
Since 2012, Lavarnway’s star has fallen in a big way, culminating in this crazy offseason. Given that there is some (albeit slim) chance that he could re-discover the power that made him such a promising hitter, another team is likely to add Lavarnway. However, at this point, it’s difficult to imagine him with a legitimate MLB role next season and that’s frankly depressing for a guy who was such an exciting prospect just three years ago. Against all odds, though, we here at BoSox Injection wish Ryan all the best with his career and hope that he can latch on and make an impact somewhere.