The Red Sox could trade from their considerable catching depth, Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal writes. Blake Swihart projects as their starter, while Christian Vazquez has looked good defensively after having Tommy John surgery last year. There’s also veteran Ryan Hanigan, as well as Sandy Leon, who MacPherson notes isn’t on the 40-man roster but is “being paid commensurate with a front-line depth option.” At some point, MacPherson suggests, youngsters Swihart and Vazquez will likely be the Red Sox’ top two catchers. That would imply that Hanigan could be a candidate to be dealt, with the Astros and Rangers as potential trade partners. Hanigan hit a decent .247/.337/.328 last year, has a reputation as a good defender and framer, and is only owed $3.7MM in 2016, so he could be an attractive target for teams in need of catching help. Here’s more from the American League.
- The Rangers have announced that they’ve optioned high-profile youngsters Joey Gallo, Jurickson Profar and Nomar Mazara to Triple-A Round Rock. Gallo has wowed minor-league fans with his power and hit 29 home runs between three levels in 2015, but he struck out in over 40% of his plate appearances in the big leagues and at nearly as high a rate at Triple-A. Profar was ranked the No. 1 prospect in the game by Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus prior to the 2013 season, but he missed all of 2014 and most of 2015 with shoulder issues and has only recently begun playing shortstop again. Mazara, an outfielder, batted .296/.366/.443 in a 2015 season split between Double-A Frisco and Round Rock. Via MLB.com, he ranks as the Rangers’ third-best prospect, with Gallo ranking first.
- Tyler Kepner of the New York Times’ profile on new Angels GM Billy Eppler describes Eppler’s earlier days as assistant GM of the Yankees. In particular, Kepner gives Eppler credit for many of the Yankees’ smaller but effective moves, like their 2014 stretch-drive trade for Brandon McCarthy and their 2008 offseason deal for Nick Swisher, neither of which cost the Yankees much. “I think you demonstrate that to the people interviewing you, like, ’There’s other moves that the Yankees make,'” says Eppler, who had previously interviewed for the Padres’ and Mariners’ GM jobs, as well as interviewing for the Angels job when it previously went to Jerry Dipoto. “It’s not just the $150 million guys and nothing else. There are other moves; they just don’t grab the attention in New York.”