Former Red Sox catcher Kevin Plawecki has signed a minor-league contract with the Pirates, the club announced on Sunday. The deal includes an invite to big-league spring training and a salary of $1.5 million if Plawecki makes it to the majors with Pittsburgh, per WEEI’s Rob Bradford.
Plawecki, who turns 32 later this month, spent the better part of the last three seasons with the Red Sox after originally signing with the club as a free agent in January 2020. He primarily served as Christian Vazquez’s backup before being somewhat surprisingly designated for assignment — and subsequently released — by Boston last September.
At that time, the Red Sox were already looking ahead to 2023 and wanted to get Connor Wong and the recently-acquired Reese McGuire as many reps as possible behind the plate. In order to accomplish that, they elected to move on from Plawecki, though that decision was not a popular one among other veterans in the clubhouse.
“It was very difficult,” Rich Hill told MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo. “Throughout the clubhouse, it was a tough one for everybody. What everybody sees out in the field and in the dugout… what you don’t realize is the humanity side of this game. We’re not just all numbers. We’re human beings. And removing a guy like that from the clubhouse is a big hit for a lot of guys. I would say everybody in here.”
After batting just .217/.287/.287 with one home run and 12 RBIs in 60 games (175 plate appearances) with the Red Sox last year, Plawecki latched on with the Rangers and appeared in three games for the club before the 2022 campaign came to a close. Between Boston and Texas, he threw out just five of 51 possible base stealers.
In his three seasons with the Red Sox from 2020-2022, Plawecki slashed .270/.333/.364 with 20 doubles, one triple, five homers, 44 runs driven in, 107 runs scored, one stolen base, 31 walks, and 68 strikeouts over 148 total games (437 plate appearances). The right-handed hitter also gained notoriety for his role in Boston’s laundry cart home run celebration and his walk-up song (Calum Scott’s remix of “Dancing On My Own”), which ultimately served as the club’s anthem during their run to the American League Championship Series in 2021.
By signing with the Pirates, Plawecki will presumably be competing for a spot on Pittsburgh’s bench behind the likes of Austin Hedges and prospect Endy Rodriguez, who are currently the only two backstops on the club’s 40-man roster. The Bucs will also have fellow catchers Carter Bins, Henry Davis, Jason Delay, and Tyler Heineman in camp as non-roster invitees.
Plawecki becomes the second member of the 2022 Red Sox to join the Pirates organization this offseason, as Hill previously inked a one-year, $8 million deal with Pittsburgh back in December.
(Picture of Kevin Plawecki: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)