The Houston Astros have agreed to a trade with the Boston Red Sox that will send Christian Vazquez to the Astros in exchange for IF/OF Enmanuel Valdez and OF Wilyer Abreu, the Astros’ 28th and 29th-ranked prospects according to MLB.com.
Vazquez is said to be one of the best defensive catchers in the league and the 31-year-old Puerto Rican is under contract just for the rest of the season, making him a rental unless the Astros can re-sign him. Defensively, he throws out would-be-base-stealers at a rate similar to Martin Maldonado but has far fewer passed balls with just 4 compared to Maldonado’s 11. Framing-wise, Vazquez is also slightly superior according to Fangraphs, with 0 rSZ (strike zone runs saved) compared to Maldonado’s -1. Overall, Fangraphs WAR has Boston’s catchers ranked number eight in the AL while the Astros bring up the rear at number fifteen.
When it comes to hitting, Vazquez’s track record of success makes the deal for him worth that much more, as he will play on Maldonado’s off days at a minimum. Vazquez is slashing .282/.327/.432 with an OPS of .759, far superior to Maldonado’s .173/.239/.342 and OPS of .581. Maldonado’s hot July gave him the lead in home runs with 10 as compared to 8 for Vazquez, but Vazquez still bests him in RBI with 42 as compared to 30.
All in all, the Astros have added depth to their roster and hopefully a piece they can sign for a longer-term deal at season’s end, especially considering the prospects they gave up for him. Maldonado isn’t going anywhere and the two will probably split time behind the dish for the rest of the season. Vazquez also adds three years of postseason experience that is extremely valuable to the Astros as they continue to try to win another World Series title.
Let’s go ‘stros! And let the trade deadline keep rolling! We are off to a great start.