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Why Red Sox said no thanks when Diamondbacks asked about Christian Vazquez, Blake Swihart

12.30.16 at 7:42 am ET
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Blake Swihart is still valued by the Red Sox.  (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Blake Swihart is still valued by the Red Sox. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Word out of Arizona (courtesy the Arizona Republic’s Nick Piecoro) is that former Red Sox general manager Mike Hazen, who currently holds the same title with the Diamondbacks, asked about the availability of catchers Christian Vazquez and/or Blake Swihart.

The answer back from the Red Sox, per the report, was that president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski was “unlikely to deal” either player.

That leads to this question: Why the Red Sox would be wanting to keep what might seem like a surplus of catchers if they could get legitimate value back?

The reasoning is not hard to decipher. Although there is some promise with Sandy Leon, Vazquez and Swihart, there are no certainties with any of the backstops.

Dombrowski has reiterated throughout the offseason that Leon is heading into spring training as the catcher slated to get the majority of the playing time. The Red Sox believe that what he did during his memorable run in 2016 (.310 batting average, .845 OPS) earned the right to see if that lightning remains in the bottle.

But there nobody can ignore the downturn Leon experienced at the tail-end of the regular season, notching four hits in his last 44 at-bats (.091).

Vazquez and Swihart should be able to position themselves in February to resurface as legitimate major league catchers, particularly with Leon off at the World Baseball Classic. Vazquez did enough to gain residence on the postseason roster, exhibiting his old throwing arm, and Swihart has been told there will be no more experimenting with other positions after recovering from ankle surgery.

Remember, Vazquez was the Red Sox’ legitimate defense weapon who all the pitchers desperately wanted to throw to before his Tommy John surgery. And Swihart had shown enough that most felt comfortable with him as the Opening Day catcher heading into 2016.

And, thanks to Swihart still possessing options, the Red Sox don’t have to panic regarding trying to get all three on the big league roster. That’s another reason why the team has little motivation to break up what could be a strength of their club.

Which catcher should the Red Sox prioritize holding on to?

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