The Boston Red Sox acquired catcher Jhonny Pereda from the Cubs, completing a trade that sent Travis Lakins to Chicago in January.
It’s been just over two months since the Boston Red Sox shipped right-handed pitcher Travis Lakins to the Chicago Cubs for cash considerations and a player to be named later. We finally know who that player is.
The club announced on Monday that they have acquired catcher Jhonny Pereda from the Cubs, completing the Lakins trade from January 21.
Pereda spent last season in Double-A where he hit .241/.336/.305 with two home runs and 39 RBI in 98 games.
There isn’t much upside in his bat but he provides excellent defense behind the plate. Pereda won the minor league Gold Glove award at his position in 2019 when he threw out 44 of 132 base-stealers, more than any catcher at Double-A or Triple-A. He possesses a strong throwing arm and has thrown out 37% of the base runners who have attempted to steal a base against him over the course of his seven minor league seasons.
SoxProspect.com hasn’t officially ranked Pereda yet but he projects to rate just outside of the top 50 prospects in the Red Sox farm system.
The Red Sox have overhauled the catcher position this year. Christian Vazquez remains the primary option at the major league level but former backup Sandy Leon has been sent packing. Kevin Plawecki and Jonathan Lucroy were battling for the backup role before spring training was interrupted. It’s possible that both will make the Opening Day roster when the season resumes, with the addition of a 26th man on active rosters this year making it more feasible to carry three catchers.
Connor Wong was acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Mookie Betts trade, giving the Red Sox a new top catching prospect. He was also last seen at Double-A so his timeline may be similar to Pereda’s, although Wong is clearly ahead in the pecking order.
A system that was once dangerously thin at the position now has several serviceable options at the major league level with an appealing prospect waiting in the wings.
There’s no clear path to playing time in Boston for Pereda in the near future but his elite defensive skills would make him a solid backup catcher with some upside if his bat ever develops. He’s only 23 years old and with no rush to get him to the big leagues, there’s always the chance he could improve.
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A player to be named later rarely ends up making a significant impact. Pereda certainly could end up being a minor league-lifer but there’s no risk in taking a shot on a player with elite defensive skills when the only asset you’re giving up is one who had been designated for assignment. This deal could backfire if Lakins turns into a solid major league pitcher but it’s clear that the Red Sox were ready to move on and they managed to get an asset for him rather than lose him for nothing.