With the trade deadline approaching quickly, the Padres should consider improving the catcher position with a trade for Boston’s Christian Vazquez.
While the rumors in spring training circled between a potential three-team trade involving the Padres and Red Sox, the two teams could potentially work out a deal ahead of the August 31st deadline. To this point, the Padres offense has been hindered by the production at the catcher position.
Austin Hedges has yet to prove he’s capable of handling the bat in his career, and he has just one hit on the season, entering Friday’s game with the Diamondbacks. Francisco Mejia was expected to have a larger role this year, contributing offensively, but he has only two hits in 24 plate appearances. There’s been some discussion of giving Luis Torrens a look, but he has no familiarity handling a big-league pitching staff.
The Red Sox have been decimated by injuries and illness this year, losing Chris Sale and Eduardo Rodriguez for the year. Dustin Pedroia has struggled to remain healthy and is expected back on September 1. With a 4-8 record entering Friday, there’s a very real possibility that Boston is a seller at the trade deadline.
Looking at their multi-year contracts, Martin Perez has a $6.3M club option in the offseason, and both Brandon Workman and Collin McHugh will become free agents. The Red Sox farm system isn’t top-heavy with pitchers, but they do have Bryan Mata, who is expected to be very good in a couple of years.
Combined with Jackie Bradley Jr. and Kevin Pillar, both being free agents in the offseason and the closest outfield top prospect in Gilberto Jimenez being a few years away, packaging both Joey Lucchesi and Joshua Mears for catcher Christian Vazquez makes sense.
Vazquez would, obviously, be an immediate upgrade at the backstop, and he has a .308/.325/.641 slash line with four home runs and ten RBI in ten games this year. Over a much larger sample size, the 29-year-old hit .276 with 23 home runs and 72 RBI in 138 games in 2019 while continuously being lauded for his pitch framing abilities.
The Red Sox would be getting a back end of the rotation guy or a long reliever – however they see fit – and the Padres second-round pick in 2019, who posted a .253/.354/.440 line with seven home runs and 24 RBI in 43 games in Rookie Ball last year. Lucchesi is also under team control through the 2023 season.
The Baseball Trade Value site indicates this is a fair trade for both sides.
Vazquez is under team control through the 2021 season with a $7M club option for 2022 as well. The acquisition would put the immediate future of Luis Campusano in doubt. It’s entirely possible that Campusano, not Mears, would be included in the deal, but the Padres would likely request a prospect to even out the trade.
Regardless if it happens, it’s something to consider as the catcher has continuously been the weak link for the Padres in their lineup. Are you in favor of this trade?