In a busy 72 hours in Boston, I think the biggest move the team made was calling up Christian Vasquez, the stud catching prospect. Here’s why:
What does Christian Vazquez getting called up to the big club mean? Exactly what we already knew: The rotation sucks, and Swihart isn’t quite ready yet.
The Sox are sporting a 5.40 ERA, which is good for 27th in the league. With this move the Sox (and I) are hoping that Vazquez can help bring that ERA number way down.
Vazquez has always been the better defensive catcher, but was sidelined the entirety of the 2015 season due to receiving Tommy John in his throwing elbow. With Swihart having such a nasty second half of last year, the team figured they could let Vazquez get his feet wet in the minors, before being called back up.
Swihart’s defensive struggles, so far this season, have changed those plans. The move isn’t a huge indictment on Swihart, because everyone still thinks he can play, but he’s not ready to take control of the pitching staff just yet. Dave Dombrowsky isn’t willing to wait around for him to develop.
I think the improvement is going to be very noticeable, within the rotation. Vazquez can call his own game and Swihart can’t. That gives these mentally weak pitchers (BUCHHOLZ and PORCELLO) a certain level of comfort. Vazquez will not make mistakes like Swihart’s lost fly ball the other night, or calling for a pitch in Mark Trumbo’s wheel house, which he crushed.
I’m not giving up on Swihart yet, and neither are the Red Sox, but Vazquez brings in a much better defensive presence behind the plate. That’ll make these pitchers a little more comfortable. Lord knows they need it.