6:17pm: It’s a $30MM guarantee, reports Ted Schwerzler of Twins Daily (Twitter link).
6:01pm: It’s a three-year contract, reports Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe (on Twitter).
5:55pm: The Twins are in agreement with catcher Christian Vázquez, according to Jon Heyman of The New York Post. Chris Cotillo of MassLive had tweeted that Vázquez’s market was heating up earlier this evening.
Vázquez was the top remaining free agent catcher once Willson Contreras came off the board last week. The A’s moved Sean Murphy to Atlanta in a three-team blockbuster this afternoon. Minnesota now jumps in to land the catcher they’ve sought all offseason.
A longtime member of the Red Sox, Vázquez now changes uniforms for the second time in five months. Boston dealt him to the Astros at this past summer’s trade deadline, bringing back prospects Wilyer Abreu and Enmanuel Valdez for the final half-season before he hit free agency. That left Vázquez in an unfamiliar role splitting time with Martín Maldonado, but it positioned him for his second World Series title.
Vázquez is one of the better all-around catchers in the game. A light-hitting defensive specialist for his first few seasons, the Puerto Rico native has taken a step forward with the bat over the past four years. He hit .276/.320/.477 in 521 plate appearances in 2019, popping a career-best 23 home runs. Vázquez has never replicated that kind of power outside a season with perhaps the liveliest ball the league has ever used, never reaching double digit longballs in another season. Still, he’s been an adequate hitter in two of the past three years. Vázquez stumbled to a .258/.308/.352 mark in 2021, but he was an above-average hitter during the abbreviated 2020 campaign and roughly league average this past season.
Going back to the start of 2019, he owns a .271/.318/.416 line in slightly more than 1600 plate appearances. That’s five percentage points below league average overall, by measure of wRC+, but it’s above par for a catcher. Backstops have a cumulative .232/.304/.390 mark over that stretch. Vázquez doesn’t draw many walks and, 2019 aside, rarely hits for power. His high-contact approach differentiates him from most of his positional peers. Among 29 catchers with 300+ plate appearances in 2022, he had the fourth-lowest strikeout rate (16.2%) and fourth-best rate of making contact per swing (85.1%).
More to come.
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