The Red Sox have traded catcher Christian Vazquez to the Astros for minor-leaguers Enmanuel Valdez and Wilyer Abreu, the club announced Monday night.
Vazquez, who was with the Red Sox in Houston ahead of their series against the Astros, was informed of the trade while taking batting practice at Minute Maid Park on Monday afternoon. So he only had to walk across the field to join his new team.
Originally selected by Boston in the ninth round of the 2008 amateur draft, Vazquez had been the longest-tenured player in the organization. The native Puerto Rican was in the final year of his contract after having his $7 million club option picked up back in November.
Given that Vazquez was slated to become a free-agent for the first time in his career this winter, the Red Sox elected to deal the 31-year-old backstop to the Astros for a pair of prospects.
Coming into play on Monday, Vazquez was batting a stout .282/.327/.432 with 20 doubles, eight home runs, 42 RBIs, 33 runs scored, one stolen base, 18 walks, and 51 strikeouts over 84 games (318 plate appearances) this season. Among American League catchers who have made at least 100 trips to the plate, the right-handed hitter ranks third in batting average, fourth in on-base percentage, seventh in slugging percentage, and eighth in wRC+ (111), per FanGraphs.
From behind the plate, Vazquez has thrown out 16 of a possible 53 base stealers while putting up five defensive runs saved over 643 1/3 innings. He has also seen some playing time at first and second base.
As for who the Red Sox are getting back in exchange for Vazquez, Valdez was regarded by Baseball America as the Astros’ No. 12 prospect while Abreu was regarded as their No. 21 prospect.
Valdez, 23, originally signed with Houston as an international free-agent coming out of the Dominican Republic in July 2015. The left-handed hitter has slashed .327/.410/.606 with with 21 homers, 77 RBIs, 66 runs scored, and five stolen bases over 82 games (378 plate appearances) between Double-A Corpus Christi and Triple-A Sugar Land. He has played first base, second base, left field, and right field this year.
Abreu, also 23, signed with Houston as an international free-agent coming out of Venezuela in July 2017. The left-handed hitter has spent the entirety of the 2022 campaign with Corpus Christi, batting .249/.399/.459 with 15 home runs, 54 RBIs, 81 runs scored, and 23 stolen bases across 89 games spanning 411 trips to the plate. He has seen playing time at all three outfield positions.
In the wake of trading Vazquez to Houston, the Red Sox have recalled catching prospect Ronaldo Hernandez from Triple-A Worcester. Hernandez will serve as Boston’s No. 2 catcher behind Kevin Plawecki before the newly-acquired Reese McGuire joins the team.
(Picture of Christian Vazquez: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)