Red Sox have to get better at catcher

Credit: Boston.com

Credit: Boston.com

The Boston Red Sox ended their second three-game skid of the young 2014 season behind six strong innings by Clay Buchholz. The Red Sox are falling short of expectations and perhaps the most overlooked move this offseason was the departure of Jarrod Saltalamacchia. The Red Sox opted to bring in 37-year old A.J. Pierzynski, who blows.

I wasn’t for keeping Saltalamacchia necessarily because he wasn’t a great all-around player, but if they were going to pass on him they needed to get better than Pierzynski. Pierzynski went 0-6 last night with one RBI. In the last two series against Chicago and New York, Pierzynski has gone 1-18 with three RBI’s, one walk, five strike outs and one homerun.

I’m not trying to dog on the guy, but Pierzynski has 10 strike-outs and an OBP of just .298 while hitting a .256 average. He’s not patient, or disciplined at the plate as he’s taken just one walk and he’s our primary option at catcher. David Ross has become a bench/utility player who has appeared in just four of 15 games for the Red Sox.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia, now with the Miami Marlins, is batting .277 average and has an OBP of .382, which isn’t much better, but still. Saltalamacchia has taken eight walks this season in roughly the same amount of at-bats as Pierzynski and Salty is just an all-around better offensive player.

Batters tend to start the season behind the pitching, which I get, but the Red Sox may be better served bringing up Ryan Lavarnway for a shot. When I went to cover the Pawtucket Red Sox, you can see that he needs a lot more development, but I don’t think your drop-off is that great from what Pierzynski gives you. Lavarnway was rumored in trades, which makes me think the Red Sox don’t have faith in him and I can’t say I have a ton either.

The lineup lacks power and the catcher position would have been a good spot to gain power, but the Red Sox dropped the ball in the offseason. Last night, Pierzynski was sixth in the order and the lack of a clear lead-off guy and power leads to Farrell tinkering with the lineup, seemingly, every game. Farrell’s looking for an answer where there is none.

I think the ultimate answer is outside the organization or waiting a few years for Vazquez and see what he turns out to be, but in the short-term they should play David Ross more. Ross has just a .231 average, but in a very limited sampling as I mentioned. Ross is the same age as Pierzynski even though he looks like he’s 65. He’s much better defensively and though the Red Sox main issue is the offense, maybe solid defense behind the plate can help a little.

The Red Sox have money to spend and I would expect them to add a catcher at some point if one becomes available through trade later in the season. The main story for people seems to be Bogaerts making mistakes, but I would ride it out with him and improve at catcher. I would never bring back Stephen Drew before I brought in a catcher with some offensive ability.

 

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Categories: Articles, Pawtucket Red Sox, Red Sox

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

4 replies

  1. His lack of patience irritates me. It’s very un-Red Sox to have a guy so eager to swing. When a patient hitter struggles, they at least work the opposing pitcher a bit. I think Salty was a bigger offensive contributor than he generally gets credit for.

  2. I agree 100%. Sadly there aren’t a lot of good catchers out there and the rare elite ones are pretty much untouchable (Yadier Molina, Buster Posey and Matt Wieters to name a few).

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