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FanPost Friday - Backstop Battle Royale!

Boston has a lot of catchers, and they are all performing at their respective levels. What we have here is a good problem.

Baltimore Orioles v Boston Red Sox
I could have gone with Sandy Leon. Instead, I’m going to honor Christian Vazquez, who played in today’s game, and finally dropped his batting average to a merely super human level.
Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

This isn’t really news to anyone following the Red Sox right now, but the catchers in the system are “on fleek” (is that what the kids are saying these days?) and this is obviously a great problem for the Boston Red Sox to have.

Christian Vazquez is tearing the cover off the ball when he plays, and is obviously a great defensive catcher. One hopes that there’s a bat there, and this isn’t just a mirage, but what if it is? Do you risk trading him at a high point, only for him to continue to improve?

Sandy Leon might be the easiest catcher to be rid of, since he didn’t get his start in the organization, but he’s also the most sure bat the Red Sox have at the catcher position at this juncture. After a .310/.369/.476 triple slash last year, and a quick start to 2017, it’s looking more like he can be a reliable bat, being a good option to have.

Then there’s the eponymous elephant in the room, Blake Swihart. He too is off to a quick start, although he’s in AAA, with a .333/.409/.500 line through just 5 games (at the time of this writing). Obviously, this is a small sample size, but of the three catchers, he arguably has the highest ceiling, and not be a meaningless amount, either.

Toronto Blue Jays v Boston Red Sox
We know what Sandy Leon and Christian Vazquez look like, we see them every game, more or less. Blake Swihart, however, might be a newer face if you didn’t watch Spring Training, as he hasn’t played in Boston since June 4th of last year.
Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

There are more than these three in the system of course, but for the sake of this exercise, I want us to focus on the three primary options for catcher for the Red Sox, Leon, Vazquez, and Swihart, and I’m going to ask you a question that I hope will be both difficult and rewarding to answer.

This week’s prompt is:

What do you do with the Red Sox catching situation? Is either of the three traded? If so, to whom, and for what? What is the long-term plan you aim for with the catcher position?

While you can, of course, choose to keep everyone for the time being (this won’t always be true, but you “could” preserve depth in the system), I want to urge you to think as if you have to do something, and make a clear statement, one way or the other, about the Boston catchers.

It is not required to say who a catcher is traded to (or for what), but it would be something to add to your FanPost to give it more depth, and give us a better idea of your own long-term plan regarding the Red Sox.

Some things worth considering:

  1. Blake Swihart has no more options left after 2017. He burned his last option.
  2. Christian Vazquez has no options remaining. If not on the major league roster, he will be exposed to waivers at any time.
  3. Sandy Leon is also out of options, so, similarly to Vazquez, it’s either the majors or waivers.
  4. If exposed to waivers, all three players will be claimed. Obviously, we cannot be 100% sure, but I think it’s fairly obvious they would be claimed. As such, the rules are that if you expose any player to waivers, they will be claimed.

As such, the catching situation MUST be resolved by the opening of the 2018 season. If you choose the “preserve depth” option, and keep all three, you must explain what your plan is once 2018 rolls around, in detail, we can’t have any “perfect” solutions, since none really exists here.

New York Yankees v Boston Red Sox
For one time, and one time only, Dave Dombrowski has handed the team over to you, with one mission, should you choose to accept: “Find a solution to our very good problem.”
Photo by Rich Gagnon/Getty Images

You can move players around the diamond. If you want Swihart to learn first base, so be it, all players in this scenario will be responsive and positive about position changes, just for this scenario, but they will not be as effective, likely, as they are at their current position.

You can also trade (for or away) any and all players not covered by full no-trade clauses to fix the catcher situation. This means, if for whatever reason, you want to move E-Rod with Vazquez to get Jose Quintana (I’m sure it would take more, but work with me here), that’s something you can do. If you cut from other parts of the team, explain how you are covering internally.

The no-trade rule means you cannot turn around and trade Swihart+whoever for Joey Votto. We’re going to assume that worst case, the flu has made people not want to play in Boston, and unwilling to waive no-trade clauses. Just the rules. Probably not realistic. Play along anyway.

Philadelphia Phillies v Cincinnati Reds
Yeah, I know, it sucks, but you aren’t getting Joey Votto in any trade. Nor any other player with a full no-trade clause. Sorry.
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

You are limited to one trade (and it must include one of the three catchers if you make one). If you trade Vazquez and E-Rod, you may not turn around and make another trade for another player. This is not MLB the Show, and we’re acting as if the only thing you have been hired to do is to fix the catching situation.

I think the rules are pretty clear, but I’m sure we’re all confused by this anyway. Ready, set, go!