The Red Sox have picked up their club option on catcher Christian Vazquez for the 2022 season. Under the terms of Vazquez’s original three-year, $13.55MM extension with the Sox, he will receive $7MM next year, and 2022 is now his last year under team control. The club option included a $250K buyout, making it a $6.75MM decision for the Red Sox.
There wasn’t much doubt that the veteran would be back for his eighth year in Boston, as the Red Sox highly value Vazquez’s veteran leadership, his ability to work with pitchers and his overall glovework. Vazquez’s bat has been much more inconsistent, as while he has had some strong seasons (most notably his 2019-20 campaigns), he has also been a below-average hitter on multiple occasions. After batting .278/.327/.472 with 30 homers over 710 plate appearances in 2019-20, for example, Vazquez’s offense fell off sharply this season, as he hit only .258/.308/.352 with six homers in 498 PA.
Given how the catcher has rebounded from subpar performances in the past, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Vazquez rebound in 2022. Even if he hits only a little better next year, Boston probably wouldn’t mind as long as Vazquez continues his good work behind the plate. Vazquez’s extension (signed in March 2018) has proven to be a very nice investment for the Red Sox, and at the cost of $7MM, Vazquez is still a very solid value for one season. Kevin Plawecki hit decently well in backup duty last year, and he will also return to potentially add a little more pop at the catching position in 2022.
It wouldn’t even be a surprise to see the Red Sox discuss another extension with Vazquez come Spring Training, though the team does have some future options in the pipeline. Connor Wong made his MLB debut this past season and Ronaldo Hernandez is expected to debut in 2022, so the Red Sox could wish to give either of those younger backstops a longer look next year. Or, if the Sox did look to extend Vazquez, one of these catching prospects (or 2021 fifth-rounder Nathan Hickey) could be plausible trade chips.