The Boston Red Sox have a lot of depth in their catching position from the majors and down to AAA Pawtucket, which means that they are reportedly shopping Ryan Lavarnway in the trade market. The catching position for the Red Sox as an organization is currently plugged up with A.J. Pierzynski and David Ross in the majors and Christian Vasquez and Daniel Butler at Pawtucket. The Red Sox have been using Lavarnway at first base during spring training where he would receive most of his at-bats if he were to open the season with the PawSox.
Ryan Lavarnway was once considered the catcher of the future with the Red Sox as was ranked as a Top-100 prospect according to MLB.com as recent as 2012. He has experienced a big difference in his hitting between the Red Sox and the PawSox during his career. He batted .284 in 845 plate appearances in AAA and wasn’t any better in the majors where he batted .208 in 291 plate appearances with the Red Sox.
Finding an efficient catcher in baseball is hard to come by and there are teams that are badly in need of catchers currently, so the Red Sox may possibly find some good suitors for Lavarnway. The Red Sox still have some needs that they need to address before opening day and using Lavarnway in the trade market will be a win-win situation for them.
The Pittsburgh Pirates have learned that Chris Stewart is going to need knee surgery and Russell Martin hasn’t been healthy enough to play a full season in quite some time, so I would expect the Pirates to potentially enter negotiations with the Red Sox to address their catching injury issues.
The Chicago White Sox have been looking to upgrade their catching position since November. They currently have Tyler Flowers starting at catcher since A.J. Pierzynski left for Texas at the end of the 2012 season. The White Sox have talked with Jarrod Saltalamacchia during the offseason as well, but no offers were pitched in between the parties and Salty ended up with the Miami Marlins.
The Baltimore Orioles have reportedly have been looking outside the organization to look for another catcher to back up Matt Wieters. They currently have two catchers battling for the backup spot on opening day between Steve Clevenger and Johnny Monell. If the case is true that they are looking outside their organization, it wouldn’t surprise me if they contacted the Red Sox about Ryan Lavarnway for a permanent backup role. It’s all going to come down to what the two A.L. East division rivals are going to be willing to part with one another.
In my opinion, I think both the Red Sox and the Arizona Diamondbacks would become excellent trade partners in this circumstance. The Diamondbacks have a lot of depth at shortstop and have expressing interest in parting ways with some of them in order to acquiring a young catcher. That’s were the Red Sox could come into play and pitch Lavarnway to the Diamondbacks in exchange for at least one of the shortstops, which a position where they need depth. This could be the best case scenario for both franchises.
I don’t expect Lavarnway to be traded just for a trade, but I trust whatever decision Ben Cherrington and the rest of the front office makes regarding the young catcher.