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Twins, Christian Vazquez Agree To Three-Year Deal

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The Twins jumped into the fast-moving catch market, Christian Vasquez on a 3 year contract. A physical pending transaction guarantees him $30MM. Vasquez belongs to MDR Sports Management.

Longtime Red Sox member Vasquez has changed uniforms for the second time in five months.Boston traded him to the Astros at this summer’s trade deadline, regaining his prospects Wilyer Abreu When Emmanuel Valdes Last half season before he became a free agent.So Vasquez played an unfamiliar role and split up his time Martin Maldonadobut it put him in position to win his second World Series title.

Vasquez, 32, is one of the better all-around catchers in the game. A right-hitting defensive specialist in his first few seasons, the Puerto Rican native has taken a step forward with the bat in the last four years. 276/.320/.477 in his 521 at-bats in his 2019 and hit his career-high 23 home runs. Vazquez has never replicated that kind of power out of season with perhaps the most lively ball the league has ever used, and never reached double-digit longball in another season. , he has been a good enough hitter for two of his last three years. 258/.308/.352 marks in 2021, but shortened 2020. He’s been an above-average hitter all season and was near league average last season.

Back in early 2019, he owns the .271/.318/.416 line in just over 1600 at-bats. That puts him five percent below the league-wide average as measured by wRC+, but above par for a catcher. The backstop has cumulative .232/.304/.390 marks on that stretch. Vazquez hasn’t drawn many bases, and apart from 2019, he rarely hits power. Since the start of 2019, he owns his fifth-lowest strikeout rate among catchers (minimum 750 at-bats), so his high contact approach distinguishes him from most of his peers.

The 2022 season was largely standard for the course. Of his 29 catchers with more than his 300 trips to the dish, his strikeout rate is his fourth lowest (16.2%) and his contact rate per swing is his fourth. was the second highest (85.1%). Overall, Vazquez posted a .274/.315/.399 line in his 119 games. He was batting .282/.327/.432 with the Red Sox before the trade, but with the Astros he hit .250/.278/.308 in 35 regular-season games. Vazquez also did very little offensively in the six-game playoff show.

The Twins are clearly not deterred from ending the year late. It played an unfamiliar role in splitting his rep with Maldonado.

In his career, Vazquez has caught just under 34% of stolen base attempts. His acquisition percentage this year is a modest 27.1%, but still slightly above the league average of about 25%. Statcast also rates his arm as better than average, and in pop time (average time pitched to second base) he has 10 or more throws among his 73 catchers. He is ranked 20th. Vázquez consistently gets high marks from his metrics framing him on public pitches. Combining a strong receiving with the ability to control the running game, he has been rated as a catcher with above average defensive runs in all but one of his seasons of his career. The DRS expects him to be 11 runs above par in 2022, rating him 51 runs above average in his eight years in the majors.

A wealth of experience calling games definitely added to Vasquez’s appeal to the Minnesota front office.Twins backstop is young Ryan Jeffers Already at hand. The 25-year-old will continue to do well at Target Field, but president of baseball operations Derek Falby and general manager Thad Levin each want a capable catcher to pair with Jeffers. I’m talking about the desire to add one more person. They did just that, with manager Rocco Baldelli deciding how playing time was distributed.

A right-handed hitter, Jeffers far outperformed left-handed pitchers (.263/.344) over left-handed opponents (.185/.256/.361) throughout his first few seasons in MLB. /.450). Vazquez is also a right-handed hitter, excelling against southpaws, but his career split is less dramatic. He has .257/.309/.422 lines against his left-handed arm and .263/.310/.372 marks against his right-handed arm. Falvey has already hinted that the Twins aren’t looking to relegate Jeffers to just the smaller side of the platoon, but having a balanced hitter for Vazquez will give Baldelli more flexibility in matchups with opposing pitchers. can have.

This is the first meaningful time Minnesota is entering free agency this offseason. Vazquez’s contract is in line with his MLBTR projection of $27MM over three years. No specific financial breakdown has been reported yet, but evenly splitting the $10 million a year would put his 2023 salary in Minnesota at about $107 million. Roster resourceThe Twins are definitely not finished with quite a bit of room before hitting the nearly $134 million mark this past season.Dealing with Shortstops — Where Organizations Await Carlos Correa The decision is a big deal, but the Twins are upgrading both areas of their pitching staff (especially the bullpen) and potentially rocking the outfield as well.

Vazquez’s signing follows last week’s five-year deal between the Cardinals and the Cardinals Wilson Contreras And this afternoon’s blockbuster Sean Murphy to Atlanta. As a result, the catch market is rapidly drying up. The Blue Jays can hang him one of the three backstops. Danny Jansen It seems to move the most. Free agency doesn’t have many clear solutions at this point. Austin Hedges, Tucker Barnhart, Robert Perez When Mike Zunino (The latter two saw their 2022 season cut short due to surgery) among the options.

Chris Cotillo of MassLive Vazquez is reportedly in the process of signing with an unknown team. New York Post’s John Heyman first reported that the backstops were in line with the Twins. Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham I reported that it was a three-year contract, Twins Daily’s Ted Schwartzler The first to report the $30MM guarantee.

Image credit: USA Today Sports.

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