Could Red Sox re-unite with former franchise centerpiece placed on trade block?

The latest MLB rumors have Red Sox fans excited about this potential homecoming

New York Mets v Minnesota Twins
New York Mets v Minnesota Twins / David Berding/GettyImages
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Boston Red Sox fans were left scratching their heads after a specific trade with an American League contender ahead of the 2022 trade deadline.

When Boston traded franchise catcher Christian Vazquez to the Houston Astros, questions arose about the state of the organization. Did the move signal an impending rebuild? Did the club not care about loyalty? Could the talented backstop return to Boston when his contract expired?

The aftermath of the Christian Vazquez trade

Over two-plus months with Houston, Vazquez appeared in just 35 regular-season games, splitting time with fellow veteran Martin Maldonado. With his new club, Vazquez slashed .250/.278/.308 with one homer, 10 RBI, four walks, and 18 strikeouts. In the playoffs, he logged four singles through 17 at-bats while throwing out two of five base-stealers on defense.

The Astros allowed Vazquez’s contract to expire, and the backstop hit free agency for the first time in his career. While Boston was rumored to have interest in bringing him back, he ultimately signed a three-year, $30 million deal with the Minnesota Twins.

Although the Red Sox lost a longtime franchise staple, they were able to fetch two valuable prospects in return. Houston sent outfielder Wilyer Abreu and infielder Enmanuel Valdez to Boston. Both players debuted in 2023, producing mixed results.

Valdez shuttled between Triple-A and the majors, spending the bulk of his 49 big-league games at second base. He contributed 0.2 fWAR and 102 wRC+.

Abreu was promoted in August and spent the rest of the season in the majors, slashing an impressive .316/.388/.474 with two homers. He added a 10.6 percent walk rate, 27.1 percent strikeout rate, and 135 wRC+ before the year’s end.

Twins place Christian Vazquez on trade block

Vazquez’s first season with the Twins might have been the worst of his career. He slashed just .223/.280/.318 with a 7.0 percent walk rate and 23.1 percent strikeout rate. He also regressed defensively, throwing out 17 of 54 base-stealers. His 23.94 percent caught stealing rate represented a new career low.

As a result of his subpar campaign, the Twins are “aggressively” shopping Vazquez, among other players. FanSided’s Robert Murray was first to report the news, adding that Minnesota hopes to reduce its payroll this offseason.

When discussing potential landing spots, Murray mentioned the Padres, who pursued Vazquez last winter, and the Marlins, who hope to make an addition behind the dish this offseason.

But don't rule out the Red Sox.

Could the Red Sox trade for Christian Vazquez?

The lack of available catchers has been well-documented. Very few serviceable backstops are available in free agency, and those who could be traded will likely come at a very high price.

If the Red Sox want to move on from backup Reese McGuire, to whom they recently tendered a contract, they could trade him. He’s one of the few big-league catchers with steady production at the plate, slashing above .267/.307/.358 in each of his last two seasons. While he lacks defensive talent, he could provide several MLB clubs with a platoon option behind the dish and an impressive bat off the bench.

Trading McGuire would open up a roster spot for Vazquez, who is due for positive regression both offensively and defensively. Nobody would be surprised if he’s an average hitter and above-average defender in 2024. Plus, Minnesota seems compelled to trade him at a relatively cheap cost considering they want to get his high salary off their books.

Trading McGuire to create space for Vazquez and add prospects would be an ironic reverse of their 2022 deadline moves. Then, they made the downgrade from Vazquez to McGuire, but they added Valdez and Abreu while only giving up reliever Jake Diekman. Now, they could potentially fetch a bigger return for McGuire than what they spend to acquire Vazquez, once again profiting off a catcher trade.

Is a Vazquez return to Boston likely with a new regime and competition expected from other catcher-needy teams? Perhaps not. But, at the very least, the Red Sox should do their due diligence and kick the tires on a potential deal.

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