Cardinals acquire DeRosa from Indians

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Late Saturday night, the Cardinals acquired Mark DeRosa from the
Indians in exchange for Chris Perez and a player to be named later.
Bandied about in trade rumors for the better part of the last two
months, DeRosa was batting .270/.342/.457 with 13 homers and 50 RBI in
his first season with the Tribe. Known for his versatility with the
glove, DeRosa will see most of his time at third base.

He figures to be a huge boost to a Cardinal team that has been looking
for a solution at the hot corner ever since Troy Glaus went down with a
right shoulder injury this spring. This season, Cardinals third baseman
have combined to hit just .227/.300/.367 with six homers and 26 RBI. If
Glaus somehow manages to return, DeRosa could easily slot in at second
base or the outfield.

DeRosa also adds a righty bat to a lineup that sorely needs one.
Sure, they have Pujols, but as a team, the Cardinals have a pathetic
.228 batting average against left-handers, third worst in the majors.
The team has only hit 17 homers against southpaws this season, but keep
in mind that nine of them have come off the bat of Pujols. Lastly, the
acquisition of DeRosa is a nice jab to the rival Cubs, who are
jockeying for position with the Cardinals in the competitive National
League Central. It’s a great trade for the Cards.

As for the Indians side of things, Perez, a former 2006 first-round
draft pick, will enter a bullpen that has been a disaster this season.
So far they have pitched to a 4.97 ERA, third worst in the majors,
while serving up 35 home runs. Only the Yankees have given up more.

Perez has a 3.78 ERA, 1.37 WHIP and 71/37 K/BB ratio in 64 1/3 career
innings in parts of two major league seasons. The 22-year-old
right-hander has a 4.18 ERA, .195 BAA, and 30 strikeouts in 23 2/3 in
2009. He projects as a future closer for the club. As for the player to
be named later, since DeRosa was so coveted on the trade market, the
Indians will probably get a legitimate prospect, as well. This trade
can’t possibly be judged from the Indians perspective until we find out
who that second player is.

Red Sox sign Christian Vazquez to three-year, $13.55 million extension

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The Red Sox signed catcher Christian Vazquez to a three-year, $13.55 million extension, per a team announcement on Saturday. The agreement will keep Vazquez under contract through the 2021 season and covers two years of arbitration eligibility and the catcher’s first year of free agency. It comes with a $7 million club option (and $250,000 buyout) for 2022 that could get bumped up to $8 million if he reaches 502 plate appearances in both 2020 and 2021. Vazquez has also volunteered to make an annual donation to the Red Sox Foundation as part of his new arrangement with the club.

The 27-year-old backstop is entering his fourth year with the Red Sox in 2018. He’s been a steady defender behind the dish over the last three years and was ranked fifth-best in defense among all American League catchers at the end of the 2017 season. He also enjoyed a breakout performance at the plate, slashing a career-best .290/.330/.404 with five home runs and a .735 OPS in 345 plate appearances.

Come Opening Day, Vazquez is expected to be the Red Sox’ primary option behind the plate, with veteran Sandy Leon and Blake Swihart poised to start in backup roles. Swihart is out of options, but has been groomed for a utility role this spring and could take a few reps in the left field and the infield corners if need be, as it doesn’t appear the club is prepared to trade him just yet.