By Matt McCarthy, 985TheSportsHub.com
Red Sox President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski indicated at the Winter Meetings that he did not plan to carry three catchers on his roster this year, and apparently that is still the plan now as the team begins spring training.
According to Sean McAdam of the Boston Sports Journal, the Red Sox have been shopping their catchers around the league with the hopes of bolstering their starting pitching depth. The team is reportedly listening to offers for all three catchers: Sandy Leon, Christian Vazquez, and Blake Swihart.
“I had heard earlier in the winter they were open to trading any of the three,” a scout told McAdam.
The Red Sox carried Swihart, Leon, and Vazquez on their 25-man roster all last year. While Swihart’s versatility made it possible, Dombrowski said he does not think that option is ideal again in 2019.
“Realistically I think Opening Day we would have two catchers. But we haven’t made any deals as you can see. I think the catching market overall for trades has been slow,” Dombrowski told Christopher Smith of MassLive.
The Red Sox appear to be in decent shape when it comes to starting pitching depth, but the organization could view a number of their backup plans in the rotation as potential contributors out of a bullpen that has open jobs entering camp. Steven Wright, Hector Velazquez, and Brian Johnson all saw time in relief last year.
All three catchers are out of options, and would likely not make it through to Pawtucket without being claimed on waivers.
Vazquez would appear to be the team’s number one catcher, starting 10 out of the Red Sox 14 postseason games in 2018. The organization signed Vazquez to a 3-year, $13.5 million contract last spring training with a team option for 2022.
Leon is owed $2.5 million this season and has been the team’s top choice for the majority of starts made by Chris Sale and Rick Porcello.
Swihart will be paid $910,000 this year and likely has the highest offensive upside of the three players, but is viewed as the weakest defensively, despite taking strides behind the plate last season.