After the Boston Red Sox lost again last night to the Chicago White Sox to fall 11 games under .500, many figured that roster moves would ensue.
Well, the first domino has fallen.
It is likely the first of many moves for Boston, who will almost certainly start to unload more and more veterans from this struggling 2014 team in favor for some of the young players in the farm. After 90 games, they have finally identified themselves as sellers, and in my opinion, rightfully so.
Pierzynski, who was signed as a free agent in December to a one-year deal, never hit his stride in Boston. He posted a .254/.286/.348 slash through 72 games, well below his career marks of .282/.320/.425, and couldn’t generate the same home run power either, hitting just four after having 17 bombs in 2013, and 27 in 2012 (in Arlington).
Seeing as how a 37-year-old catcher with limited defensive abilities and career-low marks in hitting doesn’t hold much trade value, it made sense for the Red Sox to DFA him. I’m not sure fans expected Pierzynski to be the first veteran to go, but nonetheless he is gone. At least Boston did him the favor of cutting him early enough to where he can probably find another team looking to add a left-handed hitter rather quickly.
The man replacing him, 23-year-old catching prospect Christian Vazquez, was a 9th round selection in the 2008 MLB draft from Puerto Rico.
What he lacks in offensive prowess he more than makes up for in defensive abilities. Vazquez has one of the strongest arms you’ll ever see. With great footwork and a lightning quick release, Vazquez threw out 19 of 48 runners at the Triple-A level. He has a growing relationship with the Molina brothers — José, Yadier and Bengie, arguably the best catching family in MLB history — and was even heralded by José as being a “special” player.
Without even having played a game, I truly believe he is already one of the top defensive catchers in all of MLB. This kid is the real deal.
Offensively though, not so much.
It’s not as if he’s a total mess, I mean he had an OPS of .721 in 244 at-bats for Triple-A, but he also struck out more than twice as many times as he walked. Like many young hitters, he struggled with fastballs up in the zone and breaking balls away, and unfortunately for him, those pitches are only going to get nastier at this level (just ask Xander Bogaerts).
If he can skate by offensively at say .220-.240 and provide Boston with some solid work behind the plate, I’d say the Red Sox got what they were looking for.
As Boston’s roster continues to get younger, there is not telling how fast Ben Cherington will start making trades, so stay tuned for what should be an interesting next couple of weeks for your 2014 Red Sox.
Visit the Boston Red Sox team page for more news and opinions. Also, be sure to check out my colleague Alex Peter’s very intriguing article on 4 potential trades the Sox should make as sellers (love the Peavy for Tilson deal).