Craig Breslow has shown he's not afraid to make moves in the early days of his tenure as the Boston Red Sox's chief baseball officer. On the heels of a significant coaching hire, all eyes are now on who Breslow will bring in on the player side with free agency heating up.
An upgrade at catcher is one thing Breslow could pursue this offseason, and the opportunity to acquire one has just arisen.
FanSided's Robert Murray reports the Minnesota Twins are looking to move Christian Vazquez due to cap-clearing efforts. He just signed a three-year, $33 million contract last offseason with the team, but Minnesota is now looking to go in a different direction.
Vazquez, of course, spent his first 8.5 seasons in Boston, emerging as a key part of the team's catcher rotation. He was dealt at the 2022 trade deadline to the Houston Astros with hopes of re-signing him in free agency. However, the Twins being willing to offer a third year helped bring him to Target Field, while Boston turned to Reese McGuire and Connor Wong.
All three guys had their flaws in 2023. McGuire hit well for contact but didn't make much of a run-producing impact (1 HR, 11 RBI). Wong led the group in HRs (9) and RBI (36) but left a ton to be desired defensively. Vazquez, meanwhile, took a step back at the plate with a dismal slash line of .223/.280/.318.
Now, a significant move at catcher isn't the biggest priority with top prospect Kyle Teel waiting in the wings. But Vazquez does raise the Red Sox's ceiling. He averaged 49.0 RBI per season from 2019-2022, providing much more reliable offensive production. That run included a 23-HR, 72-RBI explosion in 2018 that showed his top-end potential.
Even if his bat isn't quite at that level anymore, he's a much proven threat at the plate than Wong and McGuire. Vazquez also remains one of the league's best on defense, ranking No. 11 in Baseball Prospectus' Catching Defense Added metric this past year (McGuire was No. 28 and Wong checked it at an eye-popping No. 93).
An ex-pitcher like Breslow knows how important catching is to winning games. With Vazquez's two World Series rings, he could be an appealing target as this team looks to get back to its championship ways.
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