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Alex Cora on OMF: Red Sox likely to carry three catchers in postseason

John Tomase
September 19, 2018 - 4:51 pm

Making his weekly appearance on OMF on Wednesday, Red Sox manager Alex Cora said he'll likely carry three catchers in the postseason.

In Sandy Leon, Christian Vazquez, and Blake Swihart, the Red Sox lack a clear full-time catcher, which could necessitate mixing and matching all three.

Leon is an outstanding game caller who's mired in an epic slump. It has been nearly a month since his last hit, on Aug. 23, and he's 1 for his last 40. If Cora wants to aggressively pinch hit for Leon early in games, he can only do so with a third catcher as insurance.

The best bat of the three -- and maybe even the strongest arm -- belongs to Swihart, but he remains a work in progress as a game-caller. The versatile switch hitter has played every position except shortstop and center field, and he's not a bad pinch running option. Since returning from the DL on Aug. 17, however, Swihart is hitting only .208 with a .526 OPS. In the four weeks prior to his hamstring injury, he hit .361.

Vazquez, who signed a three-year, $13.3 million contract extension during spring training, has been perhaps the biggest disappointment of the three, batting just .211 with a .549 OPS. His 3.75 catcher's ERA ranks a half run behind Leon's 3.24, but a good deal ahead of Swihart's 4.90.

With three catchers on the roster, the Red Sox would likely carry only 11 pitchers for the Division Series.