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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

Red Sox Rumor: Jackie Bradley Jr. Being Shopped For Trade

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Red Sox

With the Boston Red Sox looking to acquire a power bat this offseason to keep up with the Yankees they are reportedly shopping a core member of their current team.

According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today the player Boston is shopping is center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. One potential destination for Bradley is the Chicago Cubs. Chicago has been connected to Boston with slugger Kyle Schwarber potentially being available.

Schwarber has mashing power but has had issues at the plate having a .211 average last season that caused the Cubs to send the home run hitter back to the minors last June.

Bradley who hit 26 home runs two seasons ago fell back to 17 home runs this past season with a .245 batting average. His fielding ability though makes up for any shortcomings he has at the plate and his contract status could be very appealing in the trade market. Bradley Jr. has three years of arbitration remaining on his contract.

If Boston moves on from Bradley the likely scenario of outfield positioning would be moving Andrew Benintendi over to center field keeping Mookie Betts out in right field.

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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Stanton in Pinstripes Edition

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MLB Home Run Derby

The snow is now cascading down upon us with indifferent wrath. Today, Boston saw the first real Winter Storm of the impending season. And while you were outside futilely efforting to resist nature, with your shovels and snowblowers, the World of Baseball fractured entirely.

If you haven’t heard by now, you live under the most obscure rock in existence. The New York Yankees have purportedly acquired Giancarlo Stanton from Derek Jeter and the Miami Marlins. 

Stanton is currently going through the formality of physicals and medical checkups – as if there’s going to be anything physically wrong with this inhuman behemoth.

The Winter Meetings commence tomorrow. It is expected that the trade will be officially announced soon after.

Reports suggest that the Yankees have agreed to eat $265 million of Stanton’s contract, while sending Starlin Castro to Miami along with a couple of low-level pitching prospects.

This was our White Whale, Boston – this one got away and we still ended up dying in the end.

Dave Dombrowski looks like an absolute fool for having let this chiseled new-school Bambino slip through his hands. He immolated the entire pitching crop, down on the farm. So it’s inconceivable that Dombrowski didn’t offer the kitchen sink, in his pursuit of Stanton.

Conversely, underneath the surface, Giancarlo’s mind might have been irrevocably made up, before talks even started. He’s a city-slicker. Miami nightlife translates better to Big Apple nightlife than it does to the half-revelry of the Boston Commonwealth.

The Yankees obtain Giancarlo Stanton, presupposing the implications for the Red Sox and fans alike. It’s with a heavy heart that I unfortunately welcome you to a familiar and antique era of Red Sox Baseball. It’s the late 90’s all over again…

But, you know what? Let’s try to make light of this nonplussing news! Yeah, we don’t need Giancarlo Stanton and those Damn Yankees still won’t win the World Series! It’s time for another installment of the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

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Boston Red Sox Do Not Need To Get A Big Bat

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Red Sox

Many have stated their wishes that the Boston Red Sox will go out and get a big-time bat for the heart of their order. A bat that they seemingly need to help protect the likes of Mookie Betts and Hanley Ramirez in the lineup. One of the bigger names connected to the team is Giancarlo Stanton, but reports show that idea as a longshot with Stanton not looking at Boston as a possibility.

Another name, Jose Abreu, is also reportedly out of the running with Ken Rosenthal reporting that the White Sox will not trade their slugger before the start of the season. With the potential list shortening with JD Martinez and Eric Hosmer leading the running, maybe Boston should sit still this offseason.

That is sort of a controversial take, but the notion of Hosmer or Martinez doesn’t get the juices flowing, and ultimately will cost the Red Sox more then they are worth.

So what is the answer, Boston still needs a first basemen for next season. A position that could be filled with Sam Travis and Hanley Ramirez given the idea that Dustin Pedroia will find some time at the DH spot next season with Eduardo Nunez getting some quality time at second base. Another possibility is Rafael Devers not panning out at third base and needing to move to first base or DH at times.

Also in the cards is prospect Michael Chavis who should find himself in AAA Pawtucket at some point next season and maybe in Boston at third base or first. Then comes the possibility of Blake Swihart or my favorite, Bryce Brentz. Both were getting trained at first base with Pawtucket last season and could see reps at first base if Dave Dombrowski opts to not sign a big-time bat.

Of course, these solutions are not as flashy and will not present an immediate threat for Boston in the heart of their order. But betting on the current roster to bounce back at the plate and see an emergence of another young player might be a route to take.

Worse case scenario they get the same amount of production and end up right around 90 wins like they were this past season. But the upside of keeping the financial flexibility going forward while trying out prospects might be the best thing for Boston to do instead of overreacting to fan pressure.

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