Revisiting the Red Sox-Twins trade for Christian Vázquez and why Boston won the deal

Jul 22, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA;  Boston Red Sox first baseman Christian Vazquez (7) rounds the bases after hitting a home run during the sixth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park. Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 22, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Red Sox first baseman Christian Vazquez (7) rounds the bases after hitting a home run during the sixth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park. Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports / Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
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Chaim Bloom’s tenure with the Boston Red Sox was characterized just as much by the moves he didn’t make as the ones he did.

But mere hours ahead of the 2022 trade deadline, Bloom made a move that summed up his tenure in Boston. In another effort to bolster the farm, Bloom traded beloved catcher Christian Vázquez to the Houston Astros in exchange for prospects Enmanuel Valdez and Wilyer Abreu.

The deal was widely criticized at the time. Externally, reporters and fans alike grumbled about losing a fan favorite. Internally, players such as Xander Bogaerts wondered aloud about the direction of the team. 

Nearly two years later, the perception of this trade has shifted. The two prospects the Red Sox acquired in the exchange have quickly become well-known to the Fenway Faithful, and Vázquez isn’t quite the player he used to be. Let’s take a look at the full trade, nearly two years down the line.

Revisiting the Red Sox-Twins trade for Christian Vázquez and why Boston won the deal

Red Sox received: Wilyer Abreu (OF), Enmanuel Valdez (2B)

Abreu and Valdez were just prospects when Boston acquired them in 2022, but Red Sox Nation is well acquainted with them at the big-league level now.

Valdez isn’t a world-beater, but he played a significant role with the 2023 Red Sox before struggling mightily to open the 2024 season. He was optioned to Worcester on May 2. The power-hitting second baseman showed he could hit major-league pitching in 2023 and he logged a .266/.311/.453 slash line across 149 plate appearances.

While the start to 2024 was uglier (.156/.186/.267), he’s still only 25, and he’s mashed his way to a 1.063 OPS across 16 games since his return to Triple-A. The results haven’t been all there, but he’s flashed talent, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see Valdez get another shot in a thin big-league infield.

Abreu is a different story. Generally regarded as an afterthought in the deal, the lefty has blossomed into one of Boston’s best young players. After a successful cup of coffee in 2023 (.862 OPS), Abreu has once again been solid in 2024, to the tune of an .811 OPS. He’s also become one of the Sox's better defenders and he's collected two outs above average so far. Abreu’s been good enough to earn national attention for Rookie of the Year, and he seems to get better with each passing month.

Astros received: Christian Vázquez (C)

It’s hard to judge the Astros too harshly for this trade. After all, they did end up winning the World Series after acquiring Vázquez, even if the veteran backstop didn’t play much on their way. 

Vázquez played just 41 games for Houston, including seven postseason games. He mustered a .585 OPS in the regular season with just one home run and ceded most games to fellow veteran catcher Martín Maldonado. It was more of the same in the postseason — Vázquez hit to a .551 OPS over six games, and Maldonado got the majority of the starts. That would be all the value Houston extracted from him, as Vázquez signed a three-year, $30 million contract with Minnesota after the season.

It’s hard to argue with a ring. Conversely, the Red Sox flipped an aging, offensively challenged catcher for at least one bona fide major leaguer. Two years on, the trade looks very win-win; if Valdez can develop, it’ll go down as one of the better deals in recent Red Sox memory.

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