By MyFM's Jake Archer - There has been a ton of things to cover in regards to the Red Sox this spring. They've had a great spring and look poised for even greater success in 2018. Obviously, that means they will get off to a terrible start and have me complaining about them in a two weeks time. Anyway, I wanted to talk about a few things that I haven't gotten to yet. Here we go...
Sox Extend Vazquez Through 2021- Well, the questions about the Red Sox catching situation have pretty much been answered. They clearly believe in Christian Vazquez as "the guy" for them and they made it clear as they signed him to a three-year extension over the weekend. The deal will have $13.55 million in guarantees plus a $7 million club option for a fourth year. It also includes a buyout option.
While I love Vazquez behind the plate (their really is no one better right now) and his hitting is improving, I'm still not 100% sold on him. The pitchers sure are though as they all unanimously agreed that this was a great move and that Vazquez deserved it. That right there is enough of a reason to invest because you need a guy that can handle a staff, call a game and be trusted by the men on the mound. Throw in that he has the highest percentage of runners thrown out during his career since 1987 and you wonder why he's not already polishing a Gold Glove Award.
Vazquez has certainly beat out the guy he came up with, Blake Swihart, and taken the starting catcher role. He will however, share time with Sandy Leon. Cora maintains that who plays will be based on matchups and that no pitcher will have a "personal catcher" this season. Vazquez is 27 and has spent his whole career with the Boston organization since being drafted in the ninth round in 2008. He had a better year at the plate last year and really hit the ball well in the second half, but I'd like to see more. With a catcher though, hitting is really just gravy.
The last note I have on the deal is that Vazquez asked for an annual donation of his salary to go to The Red Sox Foundation. That's a pretty awesome move and one I have never heard of happening before.
Marrero Shipped To The Desert- The deep bench the Red Sox had was creating a problem. It was a good problem, but still, the Sox needed to move someone who was deserving of being on the major league roster. They decided to trade utility infielder Deven Marrero, who had garnered interest this spring from a number of clubs, to the Arizona Diamondbacks for a player to be named later. There are numerous Red Sox ties in the D'backs front office and coaching staff, which probably led to their interest and the deal getting done.
Marrero had been in the Red Sox system since 2012 and was heralded as a pretty good prospect. Upon his arrival in the majors in 2015, it was pretty evident that he was merely a good bench piece. The defense and baserunning were good, but the bat left something to be desired. This year, he was competing with Brock Holt for the utility role on the big league club and because he was out of options, he couldn't be sent down without clearing waivers. This led Boston to decide to get something for him with the move to Arizona.
Devers Ready To Go- After an injury scare in Monday's game against the Cubs, the Sox lifted Devers for precautionary reasons. He was listed as day-to-day with a knee contusion but has "checked in fine" according to manager Alex Cora. Devers will be in the lineup for tomorrow's Opening Day matchup in Tampa Bay.
Sox Have Highest Payroll In Baseball- Well, so much for talking about how the New York Yankees buy championships. The Red Sox were announced as having the highest payroll in the MLB for the first time since at least 1990, while the Yankees come in at seventh, their lowest ranking since 1992 when they were ninth. This is a tough position for the Sox to be in and kind of takes all of the fun out of being the "underdog" this year.
Steven Wright Hurt and Suspended- Well, Sox knuckleballer and one-time feel good story has turned into a total nightmare. He will open the season on the disabled list while he continues to rehab his knee and then will serve a 15-game suspension once he is healthy. The suspension comes from the MLB after Wright violated their domestic violence policy this past offseason. He was involved in an altercation with his wife at their home in Tennessee and arrested in December. Though he has expressed regret and maintained that he did not make physical contact with his wife, I am completely out on this guy. Domestic violence of any kind should not be tolerated and Wright needs to feel a larger punishment and possibly be released. Sadly, he won't be and I'll have a difficult time rooting for him moving forward.
Pomeranz and Rodriguez Begin Season On DL- Two other starting pitchers for the Sox, Drew Pomeranz and Eduardo Rodriguez, will also begin the season on the disabled list. They will be replaced by Hector Velazquez and Brian Johnson in the rotation, atleast for a turn or two. Sox manager Alex Cora and his braintrust decided to hand the ball to Velazquez first because he matched up better with the Tampa Bay Rays and Johnson was a better fit to face the Marlins. Both Pomeranz and Rodriguez are expected back sooner rather than later. They just are not ready yet.
That's it for Red Sox notes today! Tune in to the game tomorrow at 4 pm and be sure to check back here for all of your baseball news!