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Boston Red Sox Catching Job Up For Grabs With Sandy Leon Struggling

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Boston Red Sox Catching Job Up For Grabs With Sandy Leon Struggling

Since Boston Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek retired in 2011 Boston has struggled to find an everyday catching option. They have seen the likes of Jarrod Saltalamacchia and A.J. Pierzynski, but everything they have tried just hasn’t panned out with no true everyday catching option revealing itself.

For the last several seasons the catching role in Boston has been a platoon position with players such as Sandy Leon, Blake Swihart, Ryan Hanigan, and Christian Vazquez getting time behind the plate.

Going into this season the Red Sox had three candidates for their main catching job with Vasquez, Leon, and Swihart all vying for the position. With Vasquez, you had the recovery from Tommy John and the unknown on offense, with Swihart you had the bat but not the glove, with Leon you supposedly had something in-between after he broke out offensively last season.

No Candidate Is Made Equally Or Perfect

All three have their liabilities and going into the season the Boston Red Sox went with Leon and Vasquez on te 25-man-roster and Swihart down in AAA-Pawtucket. Swihart has had mixed success so far in Pawtucket with a .200 batting average, but he has two home runs and 11 RBIs in just 45 at bats. But with his defensive skills still not ideal the chances of him being the every starter right now is slim, the best he can hope for is getting called up to be the back-up or change his position again.

Sandy Leon who has been the primary catcher of sorts for Boston has started to struggle mightily at the plate and in 50 plate appearances, he is batting .180. Leon is fine defensively but on offense, he is a career .247 hitter and that is including him hitting .310 last season for Boston. Leon according to many projections is a .235-.240 hitter and nothing more than that, and for that reason, Boston will likely transition the primary catching duties over to Vasquez.

Vasquez has had a hot start to his season by playing superb defense along with an elite offensive production with 13 hits in just 27 at-bats giving him a .481 Avg. While his offensive production right now is way above his capabilities, it is not unreasonable for the career .251 hitter to exceed expectations. Realistically he could finish the year in the .255-.265 range given the fact that he has yet to show his true offensive potential.

Who should “The Guy” be?

The question for Boston is whether or not they are fine with that average out of the catcher position. Normally one would say yes, but with the offensive production below normal this season the idea of a Swihart who has a high offensive output is a tempting one. For now, Vasquez is the guy that should be getting the starting role in Boston, but the backup role should be given to Swihart once he heats up in Pawtucket.

Having Vasquez as the defensive catcher with a so-so hitting ability and Swihart as the pinch hitter/backup role offers Farrel more versatility and pop when he needs it the most. Leon and Vasquez are just too similar in terms of positives to make sense for the long-term outlook.

Tanner founded Trifecta Network in Spring of 2016 and has been the Chief of Content for the Network since that time. Currently Tanner covers all the sports teams in Boston and has contacts in many of the teams in the city. Before starting Trifecta, Tanner was a Site Expert for the FanSided site Chowder and Champions before leaving to cover Boston teams on the ground as a member of the media for Trifecta.

Boston Red Sox

Boston Red Sox Pitcher Carson Smith Had Something Extra In His Rehab Appearence

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Boston Red Sox Pitcher Carson Smith Had Something Extra In His Rehab Appearence With PawSox

Carson Smith made his 6th rehab appearance at AAA Pawtucket on Wednesday nights as the Paw Sox went on to win 5-3 over the Buffalo Bisons. During his appearance tonight, he looked like he had a little extra on his fastball as it topped out at 92 mph.

This is Smiths’ first appearance with only one day of rest since he underwent tommy john surgery last year. During his rehab stint, the Boston Red Sox were having him make a rehab appearance every third day.

In his last appearance on Monday night, he went 1 inning, while striking out 2 on 14 pitches (8 strikes). His fastball topped out at 91 mph.

Smith Tonight

Carson Smith seemed to have something a little extra on his fastball tonight as it topped out at 92 mph. In 2015 when Smith a dominate reliever for the Seattle Mariners, his fastball averaged 93.5 mph according to fangraphs.

His final pitching line tonight over his one inning was 1 hit, 0 runs, 0 walks, and 1 strikeout on 10 pitches (7 strikes). Six of his pitches were fastball, four were sliders. The one hit he gave up was a lead off double to Rowdy Tellez on an 88 mph fastball. It was the 2nd pitch of the AB. Tellez was then picked off 2nd base by Paw Sox catcher Jake Romanski.

The first out he recorded himself of the inning was a strikeout of Danny Jansen. It came on an 84 mph slider. The final out of the inning came on a ground out to shortstop by Jason Lebleijian.

Smith Going Forward

For Carson Smith to realistically be an option out of the Red Sox bullpen come September, he is going to need to be able to pitch on consecutive nights. Having Smith pitch tonight on only 1 day of rest shows that the team is trying to get him ready to pitch at the major league level.

With the struggles of Matt Barnes, who is now on the disabled list, having Smith as an option out of the Boston Red Sox bullpen is huge. The Red Sox need another option out of the bullpen on any given night going into September and October. Having Smith pitch on one day of rest compared to two, is a start for him on his way to being a part of the Boston Red Sox bullpen.

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Boston Red Sox Have Acquired Speedster Rajai Davis

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Boston Red Sox Have Acquired Speedster Rajai Davis From Oakland

The Boston Red Sox have acquired Oakland Athletics outfielder Rajai Davis.

Evan Drellich of CSNNE was the first with the news with Drellich crediting the A’s extra inning affair with Baltimore Orioles being the reason for the hold-up.

Minor League Outfielder In Exchange For Davis

In exchange for Davis, the Boston Red Sox will send minor league outfielder Rafael Rincones back to Oakland according to the official release by the team.

Rincones is a 19-year-old prospect that has been playing for the Red Sox affiliate in the Dominican Summer League. He has a .264 career batting average with 2 home runs and 39 RBIs. Rincones was undrafted and signed by the Red Sox as an international free agent in August of 2015.

Rumblings Started Early In The Afternoon With A Pawtucket Red Sox Infielder Being DFA’d

In the afternoon on Wednesday, the first rumblings of a waiver trade were made after a report by Nick Carfardo of the Boston Globe. In order to acquire Davis, Boston first had to clear a roster spot.

To add Rajai Davis to the 40 man roster, the Red Sox designated Steve Selsky for assignment. Selsky played in 8 games for the Red Sox this season, where he had 1 hit in 9 at-bats. Since being sent to AAA Pawtucket on April 28th, Selsky has struggled. In 79 games, Selsky hit .215 with 11 home runs, and 39 RBI’s.

Seslky left McCoy Stadium shortly after it was announced he was the DFA. He did not leave the park with any of his belongings and is expected to rejoin the PawSox tomorrow.

What Davis Brings To The Table For The Boston Red Sox

In terms of Davis, he provides outfield depth with the injury to Jackie Bradley Jr., and he provides some much-needed speed to the Boston Red Sox.

Davis is 36-years-old and the Norwich, Connecticut native should sound very familiar to Boston Red Sox fans. Davis has 10 years of American League experience including three seasons with AL East rival Toronto. What he brings to Boston is speed.

Davis has stolen 30+ bases in a season a total of 7 times in his career and he is on pace to do it once more this year. For the Oakland Athletics this season he has stolen 26 bases. As a whole, he is .233 on the season in 300 at-bats. Production at the plate isn’t why the Red Sox acquired him though.

Davis instantly becomes the best base stealer on the team. His 26 stolen bads are 8 higher than the highest on the Red Sox. Mookie Betts has 18, Andrew Benintendi 15, and Xander Bogaerts 11. Every other player on the team is sub-10. Come October, the need for speed on the bases and the ability to insert a legit pinch runner is immense.

Think Quienten Berry (2013) and Dave Roberts (2004). That is what Davis is expected to bring to the table.

In terms of placement, he can play center field till the return of Jackie Bradley Jr. Davis in 2017 has played 79 games in center for Oakland with a .987 fielding percentage in 572 innings logged.

What To Expect Going Forward

One would assume that Boston will use Davis in the field with Bradley being placed on the 10-day-dl with a sprained left thumb. Davis can also play left or right field until Bradley returns, Davis will likely serve as the fourth outfielder.

Once Bradley returns, Davis will likely be used almost exclusively as a pinch runner late in games. A role that will be crucial to October baseball success.

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Pawtucket Red Sox To Host Kyrie Irving Night

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Pawtucket Red Sox To Host Kyrie Irving Night At McCoy Stadium

The biggest headline in sports today is the trade of Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics. For the Pawtucket Red Sox, they saw this move as an opportunity.

On Thursday night at McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket Rhode Island, the AAA affiliate of the Boston Red Sox will be hosting a Kyrie Irving night.

Here are some the highlights of the night at McCoy.

  • Any fan wearing the color green or Celtics apparel will receive free general admission to the 7:05 game.
  • There will be a grand price revolving around Irving’s new number 11
  • PawSox store to have Celtics themed apparel.
  • Pregame dunk tank with Cleveland Cavaliers fan in tank wearing LeBron James jersey
  • Double the admission price for any fans by the name of LeBron, Draymond, Steph, Lonzo, or Kevin Love/Durant.

For the full info from the team check out the tweet by Mike Monaco below.

Kudos to the PawSox for capitalizing on a golden opportunity.

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