Christian Vázquez will be back with the Red Sox for 2022
The offseason is off and kicking with free agency going live Sunday afternoon. The Red Sox had plenty of decisions to make and while some faces won’t be coming back in 2022, one of the most beloved members of the roster will be. Boston officially announced that they would be picking up the 2022 club option for Christian Vázquez and it was the absolute right move for the organization.
This will probably be one of the easiest decisions that Chaim Bloom makes this winter as Vazqy is the longest-tenured member of the organization. What he’s been able to do with the pitching staff, as well as, at the plate goes without saying, and his veteran status will continue to shine with this young roster. He can be a massive asset for Alex Cora this upcoming season in regards to developing the next generation.
By picking up the option, the Red Sox will be paying the backstop $7M which is a bit of a raise for him. While many will look back at his 2019 campaign as his career highlight, to me, nothing will eclipse what he did in the ALDS this season. Not only did he hit the walk-off bomb in Game 3 to bring the series to 2-1 in Boston’s favor, but he was also credited for the game-winning run in Game 4 that sent the fellas to the ALCS.
At just 31-years-old, Vázquez probably has just one more good contract coming his way. I believe that by bringing him back for 2022, the door is wide open for another extension between him and the Red Sox. He’s played his entire career in Boston, won and lost, and it’d be great to see him finish what he started at Fenway Park.
So what does this mean for the Red Sox and my man Colo? He’ll clearly be the top dog behind the plate with Kevin Plawecki more than likely reprising his role as the lovable backup. These two will get the lion’s share of the work with the pitching staff but could also be used as player-coaches for the next era of Red Sox catchers.
2021 saw Vázquez finish in the Top-10 for AL catchers with a 7.8 WAR, per Fangraphs. Despite some fans believing he doesn’t have much of an arm, he did finish third this season in Caught Stealing with 18, tied with Salvador Perez and just one behind Martín Maldonado. He still has plenty to offer this squad and rightfully had his option picked up for next year.
That said, where do the Red Sox go after 2022? It’s a fair question as catchers don’t tend to age well and Boston actually has a pair of prospects that are chomping at the bit. Connor Wong made his debut in 2021 and had a pretty damn good showing. He also called some of Nathan Eovaldi’s best games last year. Ronaldo Hernández is also down in Worcester and is showing to be the real deal.
I could see a possible short-term extension sent Vázquez’s way in 2022 to buy Boston another few years while Wong and Hernández fully hit their potential. If I had to place a wager, Vazqy gets extended and Wong makes the roster out of spring training. We know what Chaim does at the Trade Deadline so I wouldn’t be surprised to see someone moved in order to make room for Hernández in 2022 as well.
I’m stoked to see Christian Vázquez back with the Red Sox for 2022 and wouldn’t hate seeing him finish his career in Boston when all is said and done. The longest-tenured member of this organization should be rewarded in that type of manner. From clutch hits to gunning down runners on the basepaths, Vazqy can and has done it all. Chaim Bloom made a wise decision in bringing him back and setting this team up for success right out of the gate.