The Boston Red Sox have decided to part ways with A.J. Pierzynski, designating him for assignment on Wednesday. One could look at Pierzynski’s .254 average with an OBP under .300 and slugging under .350 and say they are parting ways because the team needs offensive production, but the player they called up is not known for his offensive skills.
Christian Vazquez is making his big league debut on Wednesday, after posting a triple slash of .279/.336/.385 at Triple-A Pawtucket and .265/.344/.392 in his minor league career.
Where Vazquez really shines is behind the plate, especially with his incredible footwork and arm. He struggled throwing out runners in Portland at the end of 2012, but has had a better than 40% caught stealing percentage other year but one, including 47% in his second stint in Portland.
His ceiling may be limited by his offense, and he isn’t even the best catching prospect in the Boston Red Sox system as that honor goes to Blake Swihart, but you could certainly see an argument for him in the top 10-15 catchers in all of baseball.
He is the closest thing the Red Sox have to an everyday catcher right now, but his future will probably be as the best backup in the game once Swihart is ready for the bigs, but until then he will be a defensive standout whose bat may be exposed at times.
With the call-up of Vazquez and DFA of Pierzynski, along with the call ups of Mookie Betts, multiple starts from Rubby De La Rosa and Brandon Workman, Xander Bogaerts getting the opportunity to play through his slumps, and extended playing time for Brock Holt and Jackie Bradley Jr., it is clear the Red Sox are preparing for life after 2014. They have caught lightning in a bottle to win the 2013 World Series, but they have become sellers as they sit at the bottom of the AL East, and only three teams have fewer wins, each with a single win less than the defending champs.