This offseason will be a big one for the Sox as they hope to rebuild their roster, but one position has gone unnoticed: who will catch?
It’s pretty much guaranteed that Christian Vasquez will be the starting backstop in 2015. At 23 years old the kid is already a stud behind the plate, boasting a 52% caught stealing rate along with defensive instincts well beyond his years. The kid is a natural catcher, and though he hit a modest .240 with the Sox, for catchers nowadays offense isn’t the biggest priority.
Just look at how AJ Pierzynski fared, as a sloppy defensive catcher who could barely hit. Speaking of AJ though, he’s been speaking out about the Sox’ catching situation–especially on the subject of David Ross.
Ross is an interesting player for the Sox. The 37 year old backstop has been a backup for his entire career as he has bounced around from team to team without winning so much as a single award or honor. His .991 career fielding percentage and 27% caught stealing rate point to his being a solid pickup, while his attitude says even more. Though he is a veteran as well, AJ found Ross’ personality and role on the tea instrumental when it came to managing the games.
“He was like a second manager over there. They asked Rossey’s opinion on everything,” Pierzynski recently told Cafardo. “They wanted him to catch even more than he did.”
That’s a pretty big statement. When the Sox lost Jason Varitek they took a huge hit, but it wasn’t from behind the plate. The veteran captain was Terry Francona’s right hand man on everything, and for a brief moment it seemed that Ross filled the gap as a bridge between the management and the players.
Ross made $3.1 million in 2014, while he played just 50 games I’d say as a mentor to Vasquez and an assistant to John Farrell he is worth every penny. The big question though is whether he wants to play for another year or call it quits to be with his family.