Early Saturday morning, the Boston Red Sox made a move to lock up one of their young stars for the foreseeable future. The club and starting catcher Christian Vazquez agreed on a three-year deal that will keep the backstop in Boston through at least 2021. The contract will pay Vazquez $13.55 million in guaranteed money, and includes a club option for 2022.
In addition, Vázquez has offered to make an annual donation to the Red Sox Foundation. pic.twitter.com/lSYPbEMAOQ
— Red Sox (@RedSox) March 24, 2018
Red Sox Ink Christian Vazquez to Three-Year Extension
Vazquez, 27, is entering the prime years of his career, and put that fact on full display in 2017. Known previously as a defensive wizard but an offensive liability, Vazquez returned to the team, after Tommy John surgery stole his 2016 season, and put on a show at the plate. On the year, Vazquez hit .290 and recorded a .734 OPS, while adding five home runs and 18 doubles. While he only notched 32 RBI, he seemed to come up clutch in big moments often.
Vazquez is a career .261 batter and hadn’t hit better than .240 in the majors prior to last season. The Red Sox and their fans remain optimistic that 2017 wasn’t a fluke. Vazquez is known as a confident player and hard worker, and will remain the team’s starting catcher even if his batting average dips a bit.
Despite his improvement with a bat in his hands, Vazquez’s calling card has always been and will always be his defense. An excellent game-caller who quickly earned the trust of the staff, Vazquez owns a cannon for a throwing arm and isn’t afraid to use it. Across a span of 211 major league games, 100 runners have attempted to steal on Vazquez. He’s gunned down a mind-blowing 42% of the would-be thieves, the best number of any catcher since 1987. He made just eight errors in 849 total chances last season, good for a .991 fielding percentage.
Vazquez’s defense and steady presence were essential to the Red Sox success last season, as injuries forced a rotating stable of pitchers in and out of the rotation and bullpen. It’s safe to say that Boston has found in Vazquez the natural successor to Jason Varitek.