Red Sox face unique dilemma at the catcher position

With the 2019 season approaching and three catchers on their roster, the Red Sox will likely be looking to deal one of them soon.

The Boston Red Sox are still fresh off of their World Series victory last October, but they’ve got their hands full with a unique situation at the catcher position as they prepare to head into spring training.

For the last few seasons, three names have been commonly associated with Boston’s catching position: Christian Vazquez, Sandy Leon and Blake Swihart. Most of the time, it has been Vazquez and Leon sharing the starting catcher duties, with Swihart occasionally being rotated in and out.

For the 2019 season, however, Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski is looking to put an end to the catching triangle once and for all, as reported by the Boston Sports Journal. The team carried all three catchers on its roster in 2018, but it’s unlikely they would be able to do that again.

Therefore, one of the three will most likely be traded before the season begins. All three are expected to report to spring training in Fort Myers, Florida and compete for the starting job. Based on what the Red Sox see this spring, they will then take the next step in determining which catchers they want to hang on to.

The question is, which player are the Red Sox most comfortable parting ways with?

It seems like the least likely catcher to be traded will be Vazquez. It has never been officially stated, but he’s the guy that the Red Sox appear to be most comfortable with as their long term backstop. He’s the best defensive option, and he made some serious strides at the plate in 2018, including during the playoffs. At age 28, he’s still very much in his prime.

Swihart, the youngest of the three, is only 26 and has gotten the least amount of playing time behind the plate. But he has the potential to not just be a full-time starting catcher in Major League Baseball, but a pretty good one as well. He’s also very handy at other positions too, having played every position except pitcher, shortstop and center field in 2018.

Since Swihart is still fairly young, coupled with the fact that made vast improvements in his game last season, he would probably garner the most return in a trade.

Nevertheless, Leon appears to be very tradable as well. He will be 30 in March, and when it comes to veteran leadership, he’s the best of three. Pitchers always seem the most comfortable when throwing to him.

But while Leon is very reliable with his glove, his bat is where the question marks reside.

It seems likely that Leon is the catcher that will end up getting traded, only because, at this point, he has the least to offer to the club going forward. Vazquez is and should still be their No. 1 backstop in 2019, and Dombrowski seems to believe that Swihart can contribute greatly to this team as well.

Leon was a tremendous fit during his four years in Boston, and he should have plenty of interest from other teams who are looking for a solid and reliable catcher. As for the Red Sox, though, their future should gravitate around the younger duo of Vazquez and Swihart.

Only time will tell what Dombrowski’s final decision will be. But with spring training fast approaching, he will be giving this situation plenty of thought over the next several weeks.