The Boston Red Sox may be thinking that three catchers are too many for 2016. Could the Texas Rangers be interested in adding one of them to their roster?
With Wade Miley being traded to the Seattle Mariners, some of the baseball experts are settling down their rumors about the Texas Rangers discussing pitchers with the Boston Red Sox. However, one position that hasn’t received a ton of attention is the catcher.
Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram made an interesting tweet to the rest of the baseball world:
Wilson’s idea does have some logic to it. With Blake Swihart impressing last season, Christian Vazquez impressing the season before, and Ryan Hanigan doing the job as the backup, the Red Sox have three decent catchers for a position where two may be more than enough.
As far as the Rangers are concerned, they could use another consistent catcher. Right now, the team has two catchers in Robinson Chirinos and Chris Gimenez, both of whom are righty bats that are still under observation to start next season. In 233 at-bats, Chirinos hit .232 with 10 home runs and 34 RBIs at 31 years of age. He had issues with his shoulder, which has people wondering what he could do if Chirinos could stay healthy enough for an entire season. Gimenez is a year older and hit .255 with five homers and 14 RBIs in 36 games. He hasn’t played more than 45 games since 2009.
With these question marks, having one of Boston’s three catchers would be pretty helpful.
Swihart is a switch-hitter who batted .274 with five homers and 31 RBIs in 84 games, during a season where he was expected to play in Triple-A Pawtucket.
That was until Vazquez was injured and required Tommy John surgery. In 2014, Vazquez hit a mere .240 in 55 games, but he also threw out 15 baserunners attempting to steal in 29 attempts.
Hanigan hit .247 with two homers and 16 RBIs in 54 games, making the Red Sox backup catcher hitting better than the Rangers’ starter.
Let’s not kid ourselves, though; Hanigan would not be the Rangers’ first choice. The two young prospects-turned-starters will be whom Texas will be drooling for, if a deal is to be made for one of them.
Swihart is 23 and Vazquez is 25. Both of these men have had their defensive skills on display in Fenway Park, one of the toughest places to be a starting catcher. Vazquez is arguably the better of the two in terms of throwing basestealers out, but Swihart has been catching up to him in that category. Swihart also had to deal with the starting rotation mess of 2015, having to settle down a few veterans as well as rookie pitchers who had to take over when the veterans were injured. It’s hard enough calling a game let alone all of the drama that was piled on top of the prospect who was treading water just to keep his MLB dream alive.
For both of these young men to accomplish what they did under those circumstances made the entire MLB universe take notice. Both of them are deserving of a shot at being the No. 1 starting catcher for any team in the majors. However, there can only be one. Hanigan could be a fit in Texas, but his advanced years were not able to make him perform drastically better than the two younger catchers whom are already playing for the Rangers. If a move was to be made between the two teams, either Swihart or Vazquez would be in the equation.
All of this speculation will be for nothing, though, if Vazquez can’t prove that he has fully recovered from his surgically repaired throwing arm that kept him out of the entire 2015 season. He will not be any use for either team if that’s the case. It will only make Swihart’s worth to the Red Sox even greater, making any trade with the Rangers out of the question.