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Red Sox sign Juan Centeno to minor-league deal

Last year’s third catcher is back.

San Francisco Giants v Boston Red Sox Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

The Red Sox have their major-league duo atop their depth chart at the catching hand firmly in place, with Christian Vázquez as the starter and Kevin Plawecki coming in as the new backup. Beyond that, though, there are some questions. That was the case last year as well (after the Blake Swihart trade, at least), and they have brought back the guy who ended up as the third catcher. That would be Juan Centeno, who is coming back on a minor-league deal according to a report from Jon Heyman.

Centeno spent most of last season behind the plate for Pawtucket, coming up in September when rosters expanded to 40. He played in seven games in the majors, hitting .133/.278/.133. In 81 games at Triple-A, he hit .248/.321/.350. According to Baseball Prospectus’ metrics, Centeno has consistently graded below-average with framing, including numbers so impossibly bad with Pawtucket last year (-30.1 runs) that part of me thinks it has to be a glitch.

As of now, there is no indication if Centeno has an opt-out, and if he does when it would be. The Red Sox, as mentioned above, lack any intriguing catchers in the high-minors. Right now, it looks like he would join Jett Bandy, another minor-league signing from earlier in the offseason, in Pawtucket. Joe DeCarlo, yet another minor-league signing, is currently on Sox Prospects’ projected Triple-A roster. Austin Rei, currently projected to start in Portland, could be another guy to work his way into the conversation if he has a good first half.