The San Diego Padres may not have landed Trea Turner in free agency, but they did an amazing job of pivoting and landing a difference-maker by luring Xander Bogaerts away from the Boston Red Sox. That doesn’t mean that A.J. Preller is going to sit on his hands and not add any more pieces.
San Diego’s pursuit of Kodai Senga shows that they are in the market for marquee starting pitchers, but they have also been linked to less bombastic moves. With Jake Cronenworth likely moving to first base and filling a hole there, catcher is the biggest question mark on the team.
Austin Nola is perfectly serviceable, but he isn’t a difference maker at or behind the plate. Jorge Alfaro is likely not coming back, and Luis Campusano has struggled in limited action. San Diego missed a chance to spend what is left of its available funds on a short-term upgrade.
Jon Heyman has reported that the Minnesota Twins signed former Boston Red Sox catcher and Bogaerts teammate Christian Vazquez According to Ken Rosenthal, the Padres stepped up their pursuit of Vazquez lately, with the Cubs and Astros also in pursuit.
Will Xander Bogaerts help the San Diego Padres land Christian Vazquez?
Vazquez is not going to be a huge power threat, as he has just one season with double-digit home runs in his career. However, Vazquez was a solid .266 hitter during the last six seasons, all while handling pitching staffs with expert care on his way to two different World Series victories.
Vazquez’s primary asset at this point in his career is his defense and game-calling. The Padres have enough offensive firepower to the point where they could have made Vazquez an everyday player and not be harmed too much by a relative drop-off in offensive production.
There are several factors working against him. Not only is he going to turn 33 years old in 2023, but he is fresh off putting up a .585 OPS with the Astros despite playing in a very hitter-friendly ballpark for right-handers. There’s a real possibility that he’s on the decline.
The Padres could easily roll into the season with Nola as the starting catcher, but Preller has shown that he is going to turn every stone if it means he could potentially end up with an upgrade. With trade target Sean Murphy off the market, Vazquez was one of the best names available.