Christian Vazquez is repaying the Red Sox for their trust and loyalty
Going into this season the Boston Red Sox had three catchers and put all of their faith into Christian Vazquez. Clearly, they made the right decision.
The Red Sox have their postseason hopes on life support but they sure don’t seem to be waving the white flag just yet. Boston’s offense is still doing the damn thing while their pitching has had a bit of a resurgence. One man that sure isn’t done with this 2019 campaign yet is Christian Vazquez, and that’s a good thing.
When you’re coming off of a World Series win the expectation for more success is astronomical. If those expectations aren’t met then there may be some casualties, just ask Dave Dombrowski. Luckily for the Red Sox, they’re going to have a majority of the same core from their 2018 championship team back next season.
Free agency will be visiting Boston though as Brock Holt, Rick Porcello, and Mitch Moreland will be eligible as far as the big names are concerned. Not to mention the possibility of J.D. Martinez opting-out of his contract and testing the market. If I had to put my money with anyone from that list it’d go to Holt first then a sweetheart deal for Moreland. I’d also do whatever I had to in order to make Martinez as comfortable as possible with staying in Boston.
With the uncertainty in the front office and the questions around free agency one thing, the Red Sox don’t have to worry about is their catcher. Vazquez is tied up through the 2021 season and has done nothing but build confidence in himself this year. Looking at Christian’s history it was a bit of a surprise when he was named the top catcher for the team, but he’s erased every one of those doubts.
Boston’s three-man catching unit of Vazquez, Sandy Leon, and Blake Swihart were able to get the job done last year as the injury bug hit the trio throughout the campaign. When everyone became healthy though it wasn’t necessary to keep all three on the roster.
Soon Swihart would be shipped off to Arizona and Leon DFA’d. Sandy would sign his minor league tender and would son be promoted back to the Majors. Vazqy was the favorite going into this season and that trust never wavered.
Today was another example of Vazquez taking the ball and running with it as he went 2-4 with a pair of homers, one of which was a grand slam. He finished with five total RBI on the day. This afternoon’s game against the Phillies would also be his first multi-homer game.
It wasn’t all pretty, though, as he did leave four men on base, but he still did his damage. This really has been a career year for Vazqy as he’s eclipsed anything he’s ever done at the plate.
Christian is setting career highs in BA (.273), OPS (.781), and SLG (.472) as well as having the second-highest OBP (.309) of his career. He came into this year with ten home runs for his entire career, he has 21 this season. It’s absolutely ridiculous to look at his slash line and not be in amazement at what he’s been able to do offensively.
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His defense is nothing to scoff at either as he’s been a rock behind the plate for this Red Sox pitching staff. Vazqy has given up 35 stolen bases while throwing out 19 for a 35% CS%, which is insane. This season has also seen Vazquez play at first, second, and third base all with similar success. Christian is more than willing to do whatever Alex Cora asks him to in order to give the Red Sox the best chance at victory.
Despite the uncertainty going forward with Boston, there are constants in the lineup that Cora can count on day in and day out. If we’ve learned anything during this season it’s that Vazqy is absolutely one of those guys for this team. If the Sox want to be relevant again in 2020 they’ll need to figure some things out, but their catcher isn’t one.
I wouldn’t be surprised if we see an extension offered to Vazquez during either this offseason or the next despite his free agency not coming until 2022. With the ability he has behind the plate as well as the progression we’ve seen at the plate, he’s worth the money. It’s been an absolute pleasure to see the progression that Vazqy has made this season, he’s matured into a fantastic veteran player on a very young roster.
If Vazquez can continue to make steps forward in his abilities then he has a chance to see his career continue to take-off. This upcoming offseason will be a major step in the future of his career as he will look to continue growing as the voice behind the plate. The Red Sox gave Christian a big opportunity this season and he’s more than made good on the chance he was given.