The Astros’ hunt for catching aid is over as they announced a deal to bring in Monday night Christian Vazquez of the Red Sox. outlook Emmanuel Valdez and Wilier Abreuc go to Boston in return.
Vazquez, 31, will now join the second organization in his career as he has been with the Red Sox since he was drafted by them in 2008. He has since made it to the majors and established himself as a solid regular. Though never an All-Star, Vazquez has played in 407 appearances for the Red Sox from 2019 to the present, lowering .272/.321/.424 for a wRC+ of 97. numbers would look even better as he has posted a wRC+ of 102 or higher in 2019, 2020 and here in 2022. This year he reached .282/.327/.432, 111 wRC+. Combined with his defensive contributions, he has produced 6.4 wins over replacement in that four-year span, according to FanGraphs.
He and the Red Sox agreed to a three-year extension in early 2018, which came with a club option for 2022. That option was eventually exercised by the club, with Vazquez now just a few months away from reaching free for the first time. desk . Boston looked like contenders for much of the season, but had a dismal display in July, 8-19, dropping to the AL East basement and 3 1/2 games out of a playoff spot. Given all these factors, the Sox started making offers and they apparently found one to their liking.
For the Astros, they were clearly suited for a standout addition for quite some time, with both Martin Maldonado and Jason Castro wrestling on record this year. The Astros have shown that they are very fond of Maldonado in terms of his game calling and clubhouse presence, but he only got .173/.239/.342 on the year for a wRC+ of 66. Castro was much worse, cutting . 115/.205/.179 for a wRC+ of only 15. He also landed in the IL a month ago with a knee injury, which only increased the need for reinforcements behind the plate.
The Astros are clear buyers, with a record of 67-36 giving them a 12 game lead over the Marines in the AL West. Vazquez is the second pick-up of the day, as they also brought on board Trey Mancinic earlier today, strengthening their lineup for the final months of the season and the postseason.
As for the Red Sox, they are in a much more obscure position, out of the picture of the postseason, but close enough that the season doesn’t really push the daisies up yet. Their recent slide has raised questions about how they will approach the deadline, with many imminent free agents who could potentially be moved if the Sox wish. Vazquez was one such name, with JD Martinez and Nathan Eovaldic among the others. It looks like there won’t be a decent answer as the club tries to walk a line between buying and selling. Shortly after the deal with Vazquez was announced, the club also reportedly acquired an imminent free agent Tommy Pham of the Reds, but reportedly also traded Jake Diekman to the White Sox. With less than 24 hours to go until the deadline, many more moves are likely to follow.
In the short term, they are adding some interesting young players to the farm system. Valdez, 23, is an infielder who is having a breakthrough season with the minors. Dividing his time between Double-A and Triple-A, he scored .327/.410/.606 on the year. Based on that display, he jumped into Baseball America’s list of the best Astros prospects during their mid-season update, coming in at #12. Abreu, 23, is an outfielder with a similar helium-assisted trajectory. He has hit .249/.399/.359 for the year and jumps to the #21 position in the Astros system in the BA mid-season update.
Mark Berman of Fox 26 was the first to report that the Astros took over Vazquez in exchange for two prospects. Alex Speier of the Boston Globe was the first to report that the Red Sox received Valdez and Abreu.
Image courtesy of USA Today Sports.