The Houston Astros are finalizing a trade that will net them catcher Christian Vázquez from the Boston Red Sox, according to ESPN. The Astros had previously been connected to Chicago Cubs backstop Willson Contreras, among others, in their search for an upgrade behind the plate over Martín Maldonado and Korey Lee. The Red Sox are expected to receive two minor leaguers, infielder Enmanuel Valdez and outfielder Wilyer Abreu, in return.
In an odd coincidence, the Red Sox are set to take on the Astros beginning Monday night. Vázquez, then, merely needs to change clubhouses prior to the game.
Vázquez, 31, is an impending free agent. He batted .282/.327/.432 (108 OPS+) with eight home runs in 84 games with the Red Sox. Historically, he’s been regarded as an above-average fielder, both in the framing and the throwing departments. Statcast’s framing metric has him a hair below average this season, for whatever it’s worth.
Vázquez is the second notable addition the Astros have made to their roster on Monday. Earlier in the afternoon, Houston obtained first baseman Trey Mancini as part of a three-team trade with the Baltimore Orioles and the Tampa Bay Rays. The Astros, who entered Monday with a 12-game lead in the American League West, are in no danger of losing their grasp on the division; it’s clear, though, that James Click and company are trying to upgrade where they can ahead of a potential World Series run.
As for the Red Sox, they came into Monday in last place in the AL East at 51-51. Chaim Bloom’s team may only be 3 1/2 games back in the wild card race, yet it appears he’s willing to trade impending free agents if the return is right.
Valdez, 23, has hit .296/.347/.560 in 38 Triple-A games this season. Baseball America recently ranked him as the 12th best prospect in the system, noting that he has a “bat-first second base profile.” Abreu, meanwhile, is a 23-year-old outfielder who BA ranked 21st in the system based on his power and on-base skills.