2013 Red Sox Preview: DH/Catchers

The Red Sox are pretty much the last team that uses an everyday DH. That’s simply because they have an excellent one. David Ortiz is central to the team in 2013 to the point that if he loses any significant amount of time to injury, the Sox’ chances of making the playoffs plummets to almost nothing. There simply isn’t a hitter of his caliber in the system at the moment. Ryan Lavarnway is highly regarded as a hitting prospect, but mostly because he plays catcher.

The catcher thing is a bit of a mess. When David Ross was acquired, a lot of folks, myself included, thought it mean that a trade of Jarrod Saltalamacchia was imminent. It hasn’t happened yet, and may not.

If it doesn’t happen before the end of spring, it suggests that Lavarnway will open the season in AAA despite having nothing left to prove at the level.

One complicating factor might be Christian Vazquez. He has established himself as a strong defensive catcher with an inconsistent bat. If he achieves some consistency, it might be Lavarnway who ends up on the trading block.

My personal preference would be to use Lavarnway at first at times. It may be unfair to ask him to learn a new position–one where his value would be significantly less–after all the work he has put in to make himself a decent receiver, but the fact is the team has very few options at the corners should the major league incumbent go down.

As with everything else Red Sox, the catching position looks to be a lot different a year from now.