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Christian Vazquez: Grading the Astros-Red Sox MLB trade deadline deal

Christian Vazquez, Astros, Red Sox, Christian Vazquez trade

On Monday, the Houston Astros made a splash on the trade market, acquiring catcher Christian Vazquez from the Boston Red Sox in exchange for a pair of prospects. Vazquez was the longest-tenured player on Boston’s roster and the whole situation was even more bizarre because the deal literally got done during batting practice before the two teams faced off at Minute Maid Park.

The Red Sox went 8-19 in July and lost 13 of their last 16 contests before August rolled around. In a nutshell, they had to sell. Here are grades for this Christian Vazquez trade.

Trade Grades For Christian Vazquez Deal Between Red Sox, Astros

Astros: B+

For the Astros, this is a fantastic move. While they’re still leading the AL West with a 67-37 record, Houston’s biggest weakness this season has been behind the dish. Martin Maldonado is a solid receiver for this staff but he’s struggled immensely with the bat, hitting an atrocious .175 in 78 games in 2022 while Jason Castro hasn’t fared much better. For a team with World Series aspirations, that’s just not going to cut it. Maldonado will absolutely get playing time still, but Vazquez will likely be the starter from hereon.

The 31-year-old was one of the lone bright spots in Boston this season. He’s very good behind the plate and can swing it with authority, slashing .282 with eight homers and 42 RBI. Christian Vazquez played a key part in the Red Sox’s ALCS run in 2021 as well, where they eventually fell to the Astros, his new team. Currently in his seventh season in the Majors, Vazquez has proven year after year he is one of the more reliable all-around backstops in the game.

The Astros did a nice job here. Vazquez is a definite upgrade from Maldonado offensively. They didn’t have to give up any top prospects either, which is seen as a positive. Now, Houston’s lineup is pretty complete with minimal holes. B+ for the Astros front office.

Red Sox: C+

We all know Christian Vazquez wanted to stay put. Can you blame the catcher? This is the organization that drafted him back in 2008 and gave him the chance to be a big leaguer. But to be realistic, the Red Sox are 52-52 and sitting in sixth place in the AL Wild Card race. Between injuries and inconsistent play, Alex Cora’s squad just looks lost this year. There will always be the “what ifs” when it comes to moving Vazquez because after all, Boston isn’t totally out of contention….yet.

However, they at least got a couple of decent prospects in Enmanuel Valdez and Wilyer Abreu. Valdez isn’t far away from the bigs and is absolutely raking this season. Between Double-A and Triple-A, he’s hitting .327 with 21 home runs and 26 doubles in 82 games. Valdez can drive the ball to all fields and also offers respectable defense as he plays various infield positions. Valdez was ranked No. 12 in Houston’s system.

As for Abreu, he can play all three outfield positions. Abreu is slashing .249 this year in Double-A, swiping 23 bases in 89 contests. He’s improved offensively over the last couple of years and is starting to square up balls with a lot more consistency. Abreu is more known for his defense and aside from having great speed out in the gaps, he’s also got a very strong throwing arm.

These are two left-handed bats who could be in the MLB not too far down the road. Losing Christian Vazquez hurts, but at least they got some decent return. A C+ for this move.