One of the biggest surprises after the Boston Red Sox signed catcher David Ross this winter was that the team still came to spring training with Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ryan Lavarnway both in camp.
It had been assumed that one or the other would be moved to fill another need this winter, and that Boston would use their catching surplus to build the team.
But, with two weeks to go in spring, the Red Sox still have both Saltalamacchia and Lavarnway on the roster and Lavarnway has struggled again to hit at the major league level. Saltalamacchia provides power, but still struggles with his defense and making contact.
For Lavarnway, it has been a recurring theme during his 209 plate appearances with the Red Sox over the last two seasons. He hasn’t hit. His career average is .172 and his bat has appeared to be somewhat slow against better fastball pitchers.
Lavarnway is likely ticketed to the minors to start this season, waiting for an injury or an opportunity to get another chance with the Red Sox. Unfortunately, Lavarnway doesn’t have much left to prove at the minor league level.
In almost 2,000 career at-bats through the Red Sox system, Lavarnway holds a career slash line of .286/.376/.506. Those numbers are exactly the reason that Lavarnway has been given two looks in Boston and is likely to get a third.
It is also the reason why the Red Sox should consider trading Lavarnway right now, before his value drops any lower.
The 25-year-old Lavarnway is hardly a young prospect at this point and it is easy to wonder what his future with the Red Sox holds. Given the two-year deal that Ross signed, he figures to be in the mix for the immediate future.
The Red Sox had a chance to see Christian Vazquez this spring and he was extremely impressive during his time with the big club. Top catching prospect Blake Swihart also looms on the horizon.
Lavarnway may simply not have a place anymore and if the Red Sox have already come to the same conclusion, then they should make a trade while he still has some value. Looking at the lack of quality catchers throughout the majors, it shouldn’t be hard to find a match.