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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 Name Alex Cora As The New Manager

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Since the firing of John Farrell, the rumor mill has pegged former player Alex Cora as the clear frontrunner. Over the weekend it was being reported that Boston had decided on Cora but was waiting for the right time to announce the decision.

On Sunday the naming of the 47th manager in team history was made official.

“We were very impressed when we interviewed Alex,” said Dombrowski. “He came to us as a highly-regarded candidate, and from speaking with him throughout this process, we found him to be very knowledgeable, driven, and deserving of this opportunity. He is a highly respected and hardworking individual who has experience playing in Boston.”

Cora played in Boston from 2005 to 2008, and is currently a bench coach with the World Series-bound Houston Astros.

“I am extremely honored and humbled to be named manager of the Boston Red Sox and I want to thank Dave, John Henry, Tom Werner, and Sam Kennedy for giving me such a tremendous opportunity,” Cora said. “Returning to the Red Sox and the city of Boston is a dream come true for me and my family and I look forward to working towards the ultimate goal of winning another championship for this city and its great fans.”

“In Alex we have found a natural leader to guide our clubhouse,” said Henry. “He is extremely smart with a dedication to what it takes to be successful in today’s game on the field. His baseball acumen and his ability to think strategically are uncommon for someone his age. We could not have found a better match for our players, our front office and for where we intend to go over the coming years as an organization.”

“Alex also has a full appreciation for the use of analytical information in today’s game and his ability to communicate and relate to both young players and veterans is a plus,” added Dombrowski. “Finally, the fact that he is bilingual is very significant for our club.”

The official press conference on the hiring will take place after the conclusion of the Fall Classic.

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Red Sox Managerial Decision Seemingly Made Up

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Did anyone think that the Boston Red Sox would take their time when hiring their new field manager? According to one report the team is moving rather quickly

According to one report, the team is moving rather quickly to the point where their minds are already made up.

“There is a 99.9 percent chance of [Cora] being named Red Sox leader,” a source told Puerto Rico’s El Nuevo Dia. “They want him for the job. That post is for him. Alex is very beloved there. And he would love to run Boston. They want to make the fast decision.”

Cora is currently serving as the bench coach for the Houston Astros, a team that is battling it out with the New York Yankees for the chance to go to the World Series. Boston isn’t the only suitor for the former player however. Cora is set to meet with the New York Mets on Tuesday and is also expected to be of interest to other teams like the Philadelphia Phillies.

But the interest between Boston and Cora is mutual and a report from Puerto Rico confirms that. Cora played for the Red Sox during his career and was part of the 2007 Wolrd Series team. At the time he was considered an excellent leader on the team that had all the intangible qualities of one daying being an excellent coach. Since his playing days, he has served as an ESPN Analyst, GM of Puerto Rico national team, coach in Puerto Rico’s baseball league, and now a bench coach for Houston.

If the Red Sox are able to bring in Cora it would be seen as if they had been grooming him for years and that he is their guy. With other suitors in tow, it looks like an offer from the Boston Red Sox to Cora is going to come rather quickly. And quite frankly, this is the best decision for the team.

Acquiring Cora is far superior to a long time mediocre manager like Ron Gardenhire or a failed first coach stinter like Brad Ausmus. Cora is both young and has some prior experience to bring to the table. The one real question with him is if he will be too buddy-buddy with the players, a very real possibility.

Red Sox fans seem to be rather torn on this topic, many seem to like the idea of an old manager like Gardenhire, while others favor Cora who was a fan favorite as a player. In reality the true intentions or favorite of the Red Sox is unknown, but for the moment, Cora looks like the lock.

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Red Sox Manager Contestants Stepping Right Up

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On Wednesday the Boston Red Sox fired field manager John Farrell. With the departure of Farrell, the Red Sox must now conduct a full and wide search for their next manager. There are dozens of potential candidates for the job. The one choice that will have to be made is to either to go young or go old.

Fortunately for us, Dave Dombrowski gave a general outline of what he will be looking for in the next manager. In his post-firing presser, he mentioned that the candidate is unlikely to come from within.

That comment seemingly rules out a candidate like Chili Davis or Gary Ddisarcina.

In terms of experience, Dombrowski said “I think managerial experience helps. I don’t think it’s a 100% necessity.”. He also mentioned the importance of being in the dugout as experience. The last time Dombrowski hired a field manager he was in charge of the Detroit Tigers. The coach he hired at the time was Brad Asmus. So maybe that means he will go on the younger side.

If he goes young in terms of experience here is the list of potential candidates:

  • Brad Asmus: Asmus was let go by Detriot after having a rather shaky first tenure as a manager. He was hired by Dombrowski and has plenty of connections to New England. He will land somewhere this offseason.
  • Alex Cora: Direct connections to Boston and knows how the media is here. Well respected by players and has coached in Puerto Rico and is the bench coach for AJ Hinch’s Houston Astros.
  • Jason Varitek: Obvious connections here. But he has no actual experience as a coach in the dugout. He has helped with player development and scouting as a special assistant to the gm in Boston. But chances are he isn’t in the conversation.
  • Hensley Meulens: Speaks Spanish, English (and other languages), has extensive coaching experience and serves as the hitting coach for the Giants. Has coached the Netherlands in the WBC. There has been a rumor that Major League Baseball is encouraging the Red Sox to hire a coach of minority status. Meulens fits that bill.

In terms of an older/experiences option, there are a few. There is an opportunity here for Dombrowksi. That opportunity is to convince the well respected Jim Leyland to come out of retirement. Leyland though doesn’t seem interested in coaching again and decline to come to Boston a long time ago.

Below are few options for an experienced field manager:

  • Leyland
  • Torey Luvullo: Had a 93 win first season at the helm of Arizona. Could be convinced to leave to come back to Boston.
  • Joe Girardi: Could be on his way out of New York. Is a noted good in-game manager.
  • Ron Gardenhire: Former Twins manager and currently a bench coach for the Diamondbacks. This kind of smells to me though.

What way will Dombrowski go with is anyone’s guess. This process can take awhile with the team needing to lock down a list and start the interview process. According to Dombrowski he always has a list of people for every position he might have to hire for. So, in theory, this could happen fairly quickly.

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