Middlebrooks Gone, Red Sox Get Ryan Hanigan

ryan hanigan

In need of a backup catcher, the Boston Red Sox were able to kill two birds with one stone.
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First of all, Will Middlebrooks posed a bit of a problem for the club. He hit .254 in his first 169 big league games and smacked 32 home runs, making it clear that he was going to be one of the best power hitting third baseman in the game.

In 63 games in 2014, Middlebrooks hit just two home runs in 63 games with a dismal .256 OBP, putting his future with the Red Sox organization in peril.

Also, the Red Sox needed a backup catcher and were able to get one by trading Will Middlebrooks to the San Diego Padres. In return, the Boston Red Sox will obtain catcher Ryan Hanigan who the Padres will get in the Wil Myers deal when it is all said and done.ryan hanigan

Hanigan, who never has and most likely never will play in a big league game for the San Diego Padres, spent 2014 as a member of the Tampa Bay Rays and hit .218 with a .318 OBP in 84 games and clipped five home runs. It was a down year for Hanigan and the Red Sox will bank on him being better than he was this past season.
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Plate discipline has always been a big part of Hanigan’s game. He has walked 220 times and struck out on just 198 in his career, showing his knowledge of the strike zone. As a result, Hanigan puts a lot of balls in play and is good for a few sacrifice hits a season.

Defensively, Hanigan has thrown out 38% of attempted base stealers in his career and lead the league gunning down 48% in 2012 and 45% in 2013.
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Typically, Hanigan serves his team as a platoon catcher, playing more than a backup but less than a starter. Expect Red Sox rookie catcher Christian Vazquez to catch at around 60%-67% of the time next season while Hanigan will see around 33%-40% of the reps if all goes well.

Now that the Red Sox have Hanigan who is signed for the next two years, trading Blake Swihart is a definite possibility. Although many people may not want to trade him, the return would be rather large and could set the Red Sox up for a championship next season.
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The 34-year-old Hanigan is a graduate of Andover High School in Andover, Massachusetts. Welcome back Ryan Hanigan, welcome back.

Not Re-Signing Jarrod Saltalamacchia Was A Mistake

Jarrod SaltalamacchiaAs everyone on the face of the earth must know by now, the Boston Red Sox won it all last year. They did so with their reliable catcher behind the the dish, Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Salty put up impressive numbers last year— Hitting .273, smacking 14 homeruns, boasting a .338 OBP, gunning down 21% of runners—making him a key asset to the championship team to say the least. To the surprise of many, the Red Sox let him walk after the year ended, not making him a reasonable offer. Salty then signed with the Miami Marlins on a three year deal totaling $21 million. Allowing Salty to walk and not resigning him came back to bite the Red Sox, making it easily their biggest mistake this off-season.
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So far this year, Jarrod Saltalamacchia continues to prove that Boston made a huge mistake. Posting a .333 OBP in 59 games while clobbering eight gopher balls, Salty is outperforming Red Sox catcher AJ Pierzynski by getting on base more while hitting more home runs, and Salty gets paid less than him! Of course, Salty is not gunning down many attempted base stealers, but hey what catchers on the Red Sox do these days? All around, it is clear the Marlins catcher, who is just 29-years-old, is better than 37-year-old AJ Pierzynski this year.

Some Red Sox fans might see why the club let Salty walk and did not offer him a long term deal. This is because they have confidence in catching prospects Blake Swihart and Christian Vazquez. Wanting prospects to be successful Major League players is understandable, but the Red Sox easily could have had it both ways. Since David Ross is a free agent after this year, the team could have used Salty and Vazquez as their catching core in 2015. In 2016, they could have made a move if Swihart was ready to catch in the Bigs so that he could be on their roster as well. Had the Red Sox done this, they would be playing better this year than they are right now. In addition to saving money, the team would have got more production out of a much younger catcher. This scenario would have been the ultimate win-win situation for the club.
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Every GM makes mistakes in their reign, and for Ben Cherington this is one of them. Jarrod Saltalamacchia is a talented catcher and Boston made a huge mistake when they let him walk last off-season. Now, they are stuck with two sub-par catchers because they tried to avoid a long-term deal.