Christian Vasquez Twins agrees to a three-year deal

Jumping into a fast-moving market, the twins agree to an arrangement with him Christian Vasquez contract for three years. The deal, pending, would secure him $30 million. Vazquez is represented by MDR Sports Management.

A longtime member of the Red Sox, Vázquez is now changing uniforms for the second time in five months. Boston dealt him to the Astros at the last summer trade deadline, bringing the prospects back Willer Abreu And the Manuel Valdez For the last half of the season before he reached free agency. That left Vasquez in an unfamiliar role with whom he splits time Martin Maldonadobut made him secure his second world title.

Vazquez, 32, is one of the best players in the game in every way. A light defensive specialist for his first few seasons, the Puerto Rican native has taken it a step further with the bat over the past four years. 276/.320/.477 in 521 games in 2019, hitting a career best 23 home runs. Vasquez has never duplicated this kind of power in an offseason with perhaps the liveliest ball the league has ever used, and he has never reached double-digit long balls in another season. However, he has been a convenient batsman in two of the past three years. 258/.308/.352 mark in 2021, but he was an above-average hitter during the abbreviated 2020 campaign and roughly the league average this past season.

Going back to the beginning of 2019, he owns a .271/.318/.416 streak in just over 1,600 plate appearances. That’s five percentage points lower than the league average overall, as measured by WRC+, but it’s above average for catches. Backstops have a cumulative mark of .232/.304/.390 over this stretch. Vazquez doesn’t draw much emotion, rarely hitting power in 2019. His high calling approach sets him apart from most of his peers in positions, as he has the fifth-lowest strikeout percentage among catchers (minimum 750 plate appearances) since the start of 2019.

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The 2022 season was generally on par with the course. Among the 29 catchers with 300+ trips to the plate, he has the fourth-lowest strikeout rate (16.2%) and fourth-best contact-per-swing rate (85.1%). Overall, Vasquez has hit a .274/.315/.399 streak in 119 games. 282/.327/.432 with the Red Sox before the trade but stumbled to .250/.278/.308 appearing in 35 regular season games as an Astro. Vazquez also didn’t do much offensively in his six playoff games.

The Twins were clearly not deterred by the slow end to the year. It came in an unfamiliar role that splits its cast with Maldonado, and Minnesota presumably expects he’ll get closer to his output from his time in Boston going forward. Attacking is only part of the story and Vazquez has an excellent reputation with the glove.

For his career, Vasquez has caught just under 34% of people who attempt to do so. He had a more modest mark of 27.1% this year, but that’s still just above the league average of about 25%. Statcast also credits him with better-than-average throwing, and places him 20th out of 73 players with 10+ hits in a pop time (average time to throw to second base). Vasquez consistently draws strong scores from his general pitch framing measures. Pairing his strong receiving with his ability to control the running game, he was rated an above-average catcher by measuring defenses with saved saves in all but one of his career seasons. The DRS tied him with 11 runs above average in 2022 and rated him 51 times above average over his eight years in the majors.

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This wealth of contact game experience certainly added to Vasquez’s appeal to the Minnesota front office. Twins have a small buttress Ryan Jeffers already at hand. The 25-year-old will continue to see a fair amount of running at Target Field, but President of Baseball Operations Derek Valvey and GM Thad Levine have talked about wanting to add another primary-caliber catcher to pair with Jeffers. They did just that, leaving manager Rocco Baldelli to decide how to divide up playing time.

A right-handed hitter, Jeffers was much better against left-handed pitching (. 263/. 344/. 450) than same-handed opponents (. 185/. 256/. 361) through his first MLB campaign. Vasquez also hits right-handed and is better against the Southpaws, but his career splits aren’t quite as intense. He has a .257/.309/.422 streak against left-handers and a .263/.310/.372 mark against right-handers. Valve has already suggested that the Twins aren’t planning to relegate Jeffers to the small side of the platoon, but having a more balanced hitter in Vasquez gives Baldelli more flexibility against opposing pitchers.

It’s Minnesota’s first meaningful free agency dive in this offseason. Vasquez’s contract is in line with MLBTR’s projection of $27 million over three years. The exact financial crash hasn’t been reported yet, but an even distribution of $10 million a year would bring Minnesota’s 2023 payroll about $107 million, an estimate. list resource. There’s a fair amount of room before this past season’s $134 million mark is reached, and the Twins certainly aren’t finished. Shortstop Tackle – Where Organization Waits Carlos Correa Decision – is the big question, but the Twins could also stand to upgrade both areas of their staff (especially the bullpen) and potentially shake up their home field.

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Vasquez’s signing follows last week’s five-year deal between the Cardinals and Wilson Contreras And the blockbuster movies that were sent this afternoon Shaun Murphy to Atlanta. As a result, the fishing market is rapidly drying up. The Blue Jays can still hang with one of their three rooftops Danny Jansen It seems most likely to move. Free agency doesn’t have many obvious solutions at this point, with early players like a gauntlet Austin HedgesAnd the Tucker BarnhartAnd the Roberto Perez And the Mike Zunino (The latter two saw the 2022 seasons cut short with surgery) are among the options.

Chris Cotello from MassLive I reported that Vasquez was making progress on a deal with an unknown team. John Heyman from the New York Post I first mentioned that the support was consistent with the twins. House of Abraham from The Boston Globe Reported that it was a three-year contract, while Ted Schwerzler of Twins Daily He was the first to report a $30 million guarantee.

Image courtesy of USA Today Sports.

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