The Red Sox need it behind the plate. What they have right now won’t cut it next season.
What are you talking about? Sandy Leon, Christian Vazquez, Ryan Hanigan, Bryan Holaday and Blake Swihart. That depth is incredible, right? Uh. That’s quantity — not quality.
Leon and Vazquez are out of options, so they’d technically have to make the team next season. Hanigan’s contract has an option for 2017 (but no minor league options remaining) and a buyout. Holaday is still technically under contract and Swihart, who missed much of this past season with injury, has an option remaining.
Leon straight up can’t hit a curveball. His weak bat was exposed yet again late in the season (3 for his last 42, including the postseason), and the Red Sox have to be concerned about that. Yes, his glove is good, but so is Vazquez’ — and Vazquez didn’t hit .174 with a .442 OPS in 2014 and 2015. Leon did.
Hanigan didn’t hit well this past year and Holaday didn’t do anything to make a major impact, so neither of them should be back. One has to wonder if either has any trade value. Probably not. Figure the Red Sox take Hanigan’s buyout and DFA Holaday — because neither is necessary for next season.
Perhaps the Red Sox look to bring someone in from the outside. Because who knows what they plan on doing with Swihart? If he’s still splitting his focus behind the plate in the outfield, that would be beneficial to the team’s depth. His defense behind the plate hasn’t been too sharp, so they can’t really count on him at this point.
Vazquez will likely be on the big league roster. His defense is too good to DFA him. And his bat isn’t that terrible. Just find someone else to pair with him behind the plate who can hit above .200.