One of the big questions for the Red Sox roster both for Opening Day and moving forward as the year goes on was what they would do behind the plate. Christian Vázquez is clearly the starter, but there was a bit of a battle for the backup spot between Kevin Plawecki and Jonathan Lucroy. Both made the roster on Opening Day, but it seems the team is no longer interested in carrying three catchers. According to a report from The Athletic’s Chad Jennings, Boston released Jonathan Lucroy on Wednesday. To fill his roster spot, Chris Mazza has been re-called.
From myself and @Ken_Rosenthal: Sources say the Red Sox are taking Jonathan Lucroy off their roster and recalling pitcher Chris Mazza. Lucroy made the team as a third catcher but has yet to get an at-bat.— Chad Jennings (@chadjennings22) July 29, 2020
It makes sense that the team would make this move, as carrying three catchers just didn’t seem all that necessary since teams can carry a third catcher essentially for free with the taxi squad. The only reason to do so is if you had extra playing time elsewhere for that third catcher. That seemed to be a possibility for Lucroy, who was at one point seen as an option at first base. However, the bat just never came alive to the necessary extent in camp, and the writing seemed to be on the wall for the team’s preference with Kevin Plawecki getting the start on both of Vázquez’s days off thus far. It makes sense, as Plawecki is the better defender and Lucroy simply hasn’t been a factor at the plate in a half decade.
This move was made a big earlier than it necessarily had to, because the Red Sox (and every other team) has 30 roster spots until the two-week mark of the season. It had seemed most likely they’d make this decision when the roster reduces. That said, Boston clearly needs pitching help, and they get Mazza onto the roster now as a guy who can provide multiple innings out of the bullpen. I’m actually a little surprised they didn’t make this move yesterday in order to have Mazza available behind Matt Hall.
The Red Sox now open up a spot on both their 40-man roster and their 60-man player pool. It’s possible this could be filled with a new acquisition — Mike Foltynewicz, anyone? — but keep in mind that both Darwinzon Hernandez and Josh Taylor are making their way back and room will have to be made for them when that time comes.