Christian Vazquez

Christian Vazquez

The Boston Red Sox made an important discovery in 2014.

The Red Sox cut ties with veteran catcher A.J. Pierzynski in July, clearing a path for 24-year-old backstop Christian Vazquez. Vazquez took the ball and ran with it, flashing elite defensive skills that made him one of the organization’s most intriguing prospects entering 2014.

Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington acknowledged after the season he intends to add a catcher this winter. David Ross said he’d like to play at least one more year, but the 37-year-old is a free agent.

2014 at a glance
The Red Sox let Jarrod Saltalamacchia walk in free agency last offseason. It was a polarizing decision given Salty’s 2013 success, but Boston didn’t want to offer more than two years knowing Vazquez and fellow prospect Blake Swihart were waiting in the wings. Thus, the club signed Pierzynski to a one-year contract.

The Pierzynski era wasn’t good. He was an imperfect fit — on and off the field — and keeping him around no longer made sense as the Red Sox limped toward the All-Star break. Pierzynski was designated for assignment after 72 games with Boston in which he hit .254 with four homers, 31 RBIs and a .286 on-base percentage.

Vazquez hit the ground running upon earning his first major league call-up. He earned the trust of his coaches and the Red Sox’s pitching staff while approaching the game with a high level of passion. There were some offensive adjustments that needed to be made, but Vazquez held his own at the plate while also throwing out 15 of 29 would-be base stealers.

Ross’ leadership remained important, especially with Vazquez and Dan Butler making their way to Boston. But the 13-year veteran struggled offensively, hitting .184 …read more