Christian Vázquez’s messages to his Red Sox teammates will break your heart
Christian Vázquez’s trade to the Houston Astros was already hard enough.
He was the Boston Red Sox’ longest-tenured player, dating back to his selection in the 2008 draft, and he’s been with the big-league club since 2014, one of the few constants on a turbulent roster and last remaining members of the 2018 championship team. So, if you’re a big fan of the ebullient catcher and already upset about the trade, you might want to stop reading now, because his latest interview is just going to break your heart.
Iin a conversation with WEEI’s Rob Bradford, Vázquez opened up about how close he is with his now-former teammates, especially Xander Bogaerts, whom he came up with in the minors and has played with on the big-league squad since 2014:
"“[Xander] knows I love him a lot and it’s going to be tough on the plane. My seat is going to be empty. There was him and me on the plane. It’s going to be hard when he sees that seat empty. It’s going to be tough for him. We’re going to talk a lot on the phone. He knows. We’re going to be good. We’re going to be good.”"
Bogaerts debuted the year before Vázquez, and the pair are best friends. The longtime Sox shortstop wasn’t thrilled with the trade, either, questioning the front office’s moves at the trade deadline.
Vázquez also talked about Rafael Devers’ struggles at the plate once he made his Astros catching debut, referring to the young star by his clubhouse nickname, Carita (Baby Face):
"It was so weird to face my ex-teammates. I was guessing when I was hitting. It was weird. (His hitting) was so awful. It was bad. But it was fun to strike out Carita (Devers) three times. I love you Carita, but …”"
The Houston series was Devers’ first games back from the Injured List, and while he did strike out too much, he also hit a mammoth home run, as he often does.
Despite clearly being upset about the trade, Vázquez understands that baseball is a business. Still, he admitted that he assumed the Sox would trade him, but thought they should’ve added to the core they already had:
"“We won a World Series together. I thought we had a chance this year. But the team was struggling, a lot. That team needs a couple of pieces, that’s it, to get better … and to get healthy. You never know with the front office. It’s so hard to know what they’re thinking about. It’s hard. It’s part of the game.“In my mind, I was thinking (Sunday) was my last game at Fenway Park. Something was telling me it was the last game at Fenway Park.”"
Of course, Bloom wasn’t here for the historic 2018 campaign, when Vázquez and Co. won a franchise-record 108 regular-season games and their fourth championship in fifteen years, the most by any team in the new millennium. And since the Rays have never won a World Series, Bloom seems out of his depth in terms of understanding how much higher the stakes are supposed to be here. After 86 years, fans have gotten four tastes of glory, and they want more.
However, the blame for moves like Vázquez’s trade shouldn’t fall squarely on Bloom. After so much success, the Sox ownership and front office seem to have shifted their priorities, replacing the big-spending Dave Dombrowski with Bloom, an executive from one of baseball’s most frugal franchises. The organization seems to be headed in a decidedly cheaper direction, with a focus on cutting costs, rather than contending. Vázquez’s trade to Houston for prospects is just one example of that.