Despite a mid-season trade from the Red Sox to the Astros, catcher Christian Vazquez remained interested in a potential Boston reunion, even going so far as to reach out to the club before agreeing to his deal with the Twins, per Alex Speier of The Boston Globe. However, Speier adds that the “Sox never showed any interest in bringing back” the veteran backstop.
Vazquez, who is tied for the fifth-most games caught in franchise history, was reportedly offered a one-year extension before Boston picked up his $7MM option for the 2022 season, but the extra year was at a lower average salary than the 2022-23 option. Vazquez subsequently declined the offer, and the two parties never discussed a new deal. This decision to bet on himself worked well for the catcher, who would go on to sign a three-year, $30MM deal with the Twins. Nevertheless, during his introductory press conference, Vazquez noted the difficulty in his free agent decision, saying that the Sox will “be in my heart forever” and that it “was tough to leave Boston.”
Barring an offseason catcher addition, the Red Sox are projected to rely on Reese McGuire and Connor Wong behind the dish. While the duo doesn’t have as successful of an offensive history as Vazquez, McGuire is a career .256/.301/.381 hitter and Wong has a .213/.290/.361 slash line in 70 plate appearances, McGuire hit .337/.377/.500 following a trade to the Red Sox and Wong has hit .276/.327/.471 in two seasons at the Triple-A level.
In other Red Sox news:
- The Red Sox were quick to pounce on Masataka Yoshida, agreeing to a record-setting five-year, $90MM contract with the Japanese outfielder shortly after he was posted. However, the organization had been reportedly scouting Yoshida for years, per VP of professional scouting Gus Quattlebaum. Quattlebaum cites Pacific Rim coordinator Brett Ward for bringing Yoshida to the Red Sox’s attention long before the NPB star was posted this offseason, telling reporters that “Wardy recognized this bat a long time ago for us, and cited him as one of the better pure hitters that he’d seen since Ichiro.” While comparing Yoshida to Ichiro Suzuki is high praise, the two produced similar batting lines during their time in Japan’s NPB with Yoshida slashing .326/.419/.539 over seven seasons and Ichiro hitting .353/.421/.522 over nine seasons.
- With the majority of MLBTR’s top free agents inking contracts, general manager Chaim Bloom will be forced to turn to the trade market to improve his team this offseason. While Marcelo Mayer, Brayan Bello, and Triston Casas are considered untradeable, Tanner Houck, Ceddanne Rafaela, Bryan Mata, and Josh Winckowski have been floated as potential trade candidates. However, one National League team official believes that Rafaela is the least likely of the group to be moved, telling Speier that the Sox are “hugging him very tight.” Following a solid 2021 season at Single-A Salem, Rafaela broke out during the 2022 season. Across High-A and Double-A, the speedy utility man hit .299/.342/.539 with 21 home runs, 1o triples, and 32 doubles. The Red Sox’s No. 3 prospect, Rafaela is projected to make his debut during the 2023 season.