Well, the Red Sox may have their new backup catcher, at least according to a report from Robert Murray. He is reporting that Boston has agreed to terms with former Mets and Indians backup catcher Kevin Plawecki.
Sources: #RedSox in agreement with free-agent catcher Kevin Plawecki.— Robert Murray (@ByRobertMurray) January 2, 2020
Alex Speier has confirmed the report and indicates it’s a major-league deal.
Source confirms report from .@ByRobertMurray that Red Sox have an agreement with C Kevin Plawecki. It is a major League deal. Plawecki hit .222/.287/.342 last year before Cleveland non-tendered him.— Alex Speier (@alexspeier) January 2, 2020
This is mostly interesting to me due to the game of musical chairs involved. If you’ll recall, the Red Sox traded Sandy León to Cleveland earlier in the winter. Plawecki spent last season as Cleveland’s backup catcher and was non-tendered shortly after León was acquired. Now, he replaces León in Boston. Funny how the world works, eh?
As far as the player himself, well, he’s kind of similar to León, I suppose. There’s probably a little more upside in the bat — he hit well throughout his time in the minors and over 395 plate appearances between 2017 and 2018 he put up an OPS+ of 96, which is very good for a catcher — but that’s an extremely low bar. Last season, he got to the plate 174 times for the Indians and finished with a 64 OPS+, meaning he was 36 percent worse than league-average after adjusting for park effects.
Defensively, he doesn’t grade out super consistently, but there is reason to believe between the statistics (from Baseball Prospectus) and general reputation that he can be above-average back there. Last season BP had him well above-average in terms of framing, and he graded out well early in his career as well. It is worth mentioning, however, he graded out negatively in both 2017 and 2018. He has consistently been better than average at limiting stolen bases.
As of this writing, we do not know the terms of the contract, nor do we know how the team is making room on the 40-man roster, which was full before this signing. We’ll keep you posted when that information becomes available.
Update: Bob Nightengale says it’s a one-year deal worth $900,000. It’s worth nothing that Plawecki is arbitration-eligible for the next two seasons after this upcoming one as well.
Update 2: Sam Travis has been designated for assignment to make room for Plawecki. More on this soon.
Red Sox have designated Sam Travis for assignment.— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) January 2, 2020