Red Sox Ink Christian Vazquez to Three-Year Extension

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WEST PALM BEACH, FL - MARCH 1: Christian Vazquez #7 of the Boston Red Sox trenches prior to the spring training game against the Houston Astros at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches on March 1, 2018 in West Palm Beach, Florida. The Astros defeated the Red Sox 10-5. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

Early Saturday morning, the Boston Red Sox made a move to lock up one of their young stars for the foreseeable future. The club and starting catcher Christian Vazquez agreed on a three-year deal that will keep the backstop in Boston through at least 2021. The contract will pay Vazquez $13.55 million in guaranteed money, and includes a club option for 2022.

Red Sox Ink Christian Vazquez to Three-Year Extension

Vazquez, 27, is entering the prime years of his career, and put that fact on full display in 2017. Known previously as a defensive wizard but an offensive liability, Vazquez returned to the team, after Tommy John surgery stole his 2016 season, and put on a show at the plate. On the year, Vazquez hit .290 and recorded a .734 OPS, while adding five home runs and 18 doubles. While he only notched 32 RBI, he seemed to come up clutch in big moments often.

Vazquez is a career .261 batter and hadn’t hit better than .240 in the majors prior to last season. The Red Sox and their fans remain optimistic that 2017 wasn’t a fluke. Vazquez is known as a confident player and hard worker, and will remain the team’s starting catcher even if his batting average dips a bit.

Despite his improvement with a bat in his hands, Vazquez’s calling card has always been and will always be his defense. An excellent game-caller who quickly earned the trust of the staff, Vazquez owns a cannon for a throwing arm and isn’t afraid to use it. Across a span of 211 major league games, 100 runners have attempted to steal on Vazquez. He’s gunned down a mind-blowing 42% of the would-be thieves, the best number of any catcher since 1987. He made just eight errors in 849 total chances last season, good for a .991 fielding percentage.

Vazquez’s defense and steady presence were essential to the Red Sox success last season, as injuries forced a rotating stable of pitchers in and out of the rotation and bullpen. It’s safe to say that Boston has found in Vazquez the natural successor to Jason Varitek.

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