It is a rare sight to see established major leaguers appearing in winter ball. Typically, if one is making an appearance in any of the winter leagues, they are looking to latch on to a team, trying to prove that they can still be an asset. Then there is Boston Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez.
Unlike most veteran players that one would find in winter ball, Vazquez has a set role heading into the 2022 season. He will be the Red Sox starting catcher, a role he has held for the past five seasons.
Christian Vazquez looking to keep hold on role with Boston Red Sox
However, his grasp on that role is more tenuous than it has been in years past. The Red Sox had engaged the Pirates in discussions about Jacob Stallings prior to his being sent to Miami. Vazquez also lost playing time down the stretch last season as Boston sought more production from the position.
Vazquez struggled offensively last year after two consecutive seasons of above average production. He put together a disappointing .258/.308/.52 batting line in his 498 plate appearances, hitting six homers and 23 doubles. Even his defense suffered last year as he allowed a league leading ten passed balls and threw out a career worst 25% of would-be base stealers.
There is a great deal on the line for Vazquez in 2022. Not only is he looking to hold on to his job, but he is also slated to be a free agent after the upcoming season. As the likes of Willson Contreras and Gary Sanchez will also be free agents, Vazquez needs a strong 2022 campaign to separate himself from the pack.
His time with the Cangrejeros de Santurce has not gone according to plan thus far. Vazquez has just one hit and a walk in his ten plate appearances thus far. But this stint in Puerto Rico is more about setting himself up for a strong showing in Boston in 2022.
Christian Vazquez is trying to hold on to his starting role with the Boston Red Sox. A stint in winter ball could help him improve for the 2022 season.