Good news, Red Sox Nation; the Boston Red Sox are officially back in October baseball for the first time since winning it all in 2013. But there is a quiet dilemma on the Sox roster as we approach what we hope is Game 1 of the ALDS; that is the catching position.
Now it is obvious that Sandy León will be on the playoff roster; but the major dilemma is who is the second guy? The Sox have 3 legitimate options behind the dish as a backup: Bryan Holaday, Ryan Hanigan, and Christian Vazquez. None of those three can hit a lick of big league pitching, but they're all better defensive catchers than Sandy León.
Now if the Red Sox are smart they would have Christian Vazquez back there. Which brings me to the point of this article; have the Red Sox completely given up on Christian Vazquez?
The answer to that question is a straight-forward yes. Now the early comparisons to Yadier Molina is clearly hyperbole, but the guy is still a monster behind the dish. Easily the best defensive catcher in the organization, and, in my opinion, the guy who should be catching David Price on Opening Day in 2017.
Now obviously Vazquez lacks the offensive capability to be taken seriously at the dish, but you absolutely do not need offensive production out of the catcher's position to be a successful MLB team. For example, over this stretch of 10 games where the Sox have been clicking on all cylinders and have won all 10, Sandy Leon is hitting .162 with 12 Ks and 5 RBI. To go on top of that, he's hitting .171 late in close games and .226 with 2 outs and RISP.
We are literally witnessing the demise of Sandy León and it is being completely ignored because the organization doesn't give a damn about Christian Vazquez anymore; who by the way is hitting .389 late in close games (.224 overall but still). Sandy León is the least clutch member of this Red Sox team, and you need guys who can step up in October.
Now if you want my honest opinion of who I think will be backing up Sandy in October, I'm going to go with Bryan Holaday. But it SHOULD be Vazquez. If the organization wants no part of him, it's going to be hard to get any return for him if the Sox refuse to play him.
Remember when David Ross took over for Salty in the 2013 playoffs for defensive purposes? Vazquez should be the backup just for THAT reason alone.
While Vazquez is starting in today's game, there is still a lot of questions left unanswered about Vazquez.