We’re catching up on a little bit of Monday’s news here, but the extent of Christian Vazquez’ injury was revealed prior to the series opener against Texas. The catcher underwent tests on his injured finger and they did not give great news. He’s going to need surgery on the fractured pinky on his throwing hand and the recovery is going to keep him out for 6-8 weeks.
Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez to have surgery tomorrow to insert a pin into his fractured finger. Is expected to be out 6-8 weeks. Alex Cora said he is comfortable with Sandy Leon and Blake Swihart.— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) July 9, 2018
As Drellich points out, Alex Cora says he’s comfortable with the in-house options, but we’ll get to that in a second. For now, we can acknowledge that Vazquez really hasn’t had much of an impact at the plate this year (to put it kindly) and defensively he’s been fine but still a bit disappointing. That being said, he had a big role on this team, and now he could very well be out until September. That’s a big deal, whether Cora will admit it or not.
That being said, of course he’s going to say he has confident in the in-house options, and in Blake Swihart in particular. He doesn’t benefit at all by expressing a lack of confidence in one of his players, particularly since they are almost certainly not going to rush out for a new catcher. Swihart is going to get his chance, but I don’t think it’s a leap to say they don’t have much confidence in him as a viable catching option. If they did, he’d have gotten more opportunities as a catcher this season. Still, there isn’t exactly an abundant market of catchers this summer, so they’ll give Swihart a couple of weeks before deciding if they need to make a move or not.
In the meantime, expect to see a lot of Sandy León, who has somewhat quietly been solid at the plate this year and downright hot lately. On the entire season he has an 83 wRC+, which doesn’t sound great but is actually just about average for a catcher. Over the last 30 days he’s posted a mark of 99. He can cement his status as catcher in upon Vazquez’ return, and if he continues to play well over the next couple of weeks even if Swihart struggles he could dictate whether the Red Sox acquire a full-time catcher or a mid-level option to split time behind the plate. There are a lot of ways this can go, and the Red Sox have about three weeks to figure everything out.