Red Sox eyeing veteran catcher addition in free agency
The Boston Red Sox catcher depth chart could use a veteran who knows how to manage a pitching staff. They are reportedly turning to free agency for options.
According to ESPN’s Buster Olney from the 2023 MLB Winter Meetings, the Red Sox are eyeing Martin Maldonado as a potential free-agent addition at catcher. Olney notes that Maldonado is “renowned for his handling of pitchers.”
Maldonado is now 37 years old, a veteran of 13 major league seasons, the last five of which spent mostly with the Houston Astros. He’s never been a particularly productive hitter at the position, but he has hit double-digit home runs in each of the last three seasons in Houston.
The veteran catcher also makes sense for the Red Sox because of his relationship with manager Alex Cora. Both are natives of Puerto Rico who spent time together with the Astros.
As of Tuesday, the Red Sox have Connor Wong (pre-arbitration) and Reese McGuire (arbitration-eligible) on the catcher depth chart heading into 2024. Wong emerged as a viable starter in 2023, playing 126 games behind the plate.
Maldonado, however, could feasibly start the majority of games at catcher, having played 100-plus in six of the last seven seasons, excluding the COVID-shortened 2020 campaign. And clearly, he’s an ancillary move in the Red Sox’s quest to improve their overall pitching staff.
In addition to eyeing a pitcher-friendly catcher, the Red Sox have been linked to pretty much every big-name free-agent pitcher. They also recently hired former Twins pitching coordinator Justin Willard as their director of pitching, as well as former major league reliever Andrew Bailey as their new pitching coach.
These moves around the pitching staff represent a concerted effort by new Red Sox Chief Baseball Officer Craig Breslow to improve the entire operation on the mound. But the key to it all, without question, is to add one or two free-agent pitchers to the top of the rotation.
Check out the best remaining free agents in baseball in our official rankings below.