At one point, it appeared as though the Boston Red Sox had their catcher of the future pretty much lined up for years to come. Ryan Lavarnway always had a great bat and was making some progress with his defense. However, with Christian Vazquez and Blake Swihart swiftly moving up the ranks of the Boston farm system, Lavarnway’s days behind the plate could be numbered.
It was announced very early in Spring Training that Lavarnway would be getting some work in at first base. This is a good idea for everyone concerned because it opens up the catching logjam that was starting to build, and Lavarnway could focus on his offensive skills. It also gives Boston more flexibility and if it comes down to it, open more trade possibilities for him if they decide to go that route.
Lavarnway made a name for himself with the Red Sox in 2012 when he hit two home runs in one game. As a matter of fact, it looked like he could have been the shot in the arm that the choking Red Sox needed at the time. Obviously, it didn’t turn out that way, but that was no fault of Lavarnway. However, since that season, he hasn’t reached the next level with his hitting.
It seems as though John Farrell likes to think outside the box a little bit and this is one of those situations. The Red Sox have one of the best coaches in the business in Brian Butterfield. He helped develop Daniel Nava into a very solid first baseman despite the player having very little experience over there, and Lavarnway appears to have some of the athletic skills to hold his own at the position.
We will see what happens, but if Joe Mauer can make the transition, perhaps Lavarnway can as well.