Red Sox-Christian Vázquez reunion unlikely despite desire for catcher upgrade
Red Sox not among free-agent catcher Christian Vázquez’s many suitors
Boston Red Sox Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom recently revealed that the organization plans to try and find an upgrade at catcher, but a reunion with their former backstop seems unlikely.
With the ongoing MLB Winter Meetings, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (subscription required) reports that Christian Vázquez’s market includes the Chicago Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals, San Diego Padres, Cleveland Guardians, and Minnesota Twins. The Houston Astros also “have interest’ in retaining the catcher, whom they acquired from the Sox at the trade deadline, but same as then, they’re looking for someone to share the gig with Martín Maldonado, which likely means they won’t be looking to spend as much as Vázquez’s other suitors.
Vázquez could also be Houston’s second choice. Astros manager Dusty Baker revealed on Monday that the organization plans to meet with Willson Contreras, the only free-agent catcher in higher standing.
Speaking of Contreras, the Cubs need to replace him, and Vázquez is the next-best, and more affordable, man for the job. The Cardinals have the tall order of replacing eventual Hall of Famer Yadier Molina, who retired at the end of this season. Padres backstops Austin Nola and Luis Campusano are both under team control for several more years, and therefore, could be trade candidates. Neither offers enough bat power for Boston, though it’s often hard to tell what Bloom sees in someone.
Signing Vázquez could also help the Padres land Xander Bogaerts, his closest friend on the Sox. After they dealt Vázquez this summer, Bogaerts publicly questioned the Sox’ goals and direction. The catcher had been the longest-tenured member of the Sox organization at the time of the trade, having been drafted the year before they signed a 16-year-old Bogaerts.
Vázquez debuted with the Sox in July 2014, but missed the entire 2015 season due to Tommy John surgery. He split the 2016 season between Triple-A and the majors and then finally saw more playing time the following season. He was behind the dish when the Sox won the World Series in 2018.
2019 was Vázquez’s breakout season. Over a career-high 138 games, he hit .276/.320/.477 with 26 doubles and 23 home runs; he’d hit 10 home runs combined over the first four seasons of his big-league career. Since then, he’s continued to hit fairly well, collecting 23 doubles in each of the last two seasons, but never replicating the home-run power he displayed in the 2019 ‘juiced ball‘ season.
Now a two-time World Series champion and only the second catcher to be behind the plate for a World Series no-hitter, Vázquez is primed to get a hefty contract. Meanwhile, the Sox have been linked to Oakland A’s catcher Sean Murphy, a prime trade candidate with several suitors. In-house, they have Reese McGuire and Connor Wong, both under club control for several years.
Update: Astros a potential suitor for A’s catcher Sean Murphy
Monday, December 5: Mark Feinsand reports that the Astros have emerged as a potential suitor for Murphy as well.