Angels get 7-foot-1 Dutchman to complete Brian Fuentes trade


Last week the Angels traded Brian Fuentes to the Twins for a player to be named later, with the two sides announcing today that the player is Loek Van Mil.
Van Mil isn’t much of a prospect, ranking No. 39 on my annual list of the Twins’ best prospects coming into this season and having a miserable year between high Single-A and Double-A. On the other hand his full name is Ludovicus Jacobus Maria Van Mil, he’s 7-foot-1, and he’s from the Netherlands, so he qualifies as “intriguing” regardless of how well he pitches.
Minnesota designated Van Mil for assignment last week to clear him from the 40-man roster and he went unclaimed on waivers, so in terms of prospect stock he’s little more than a throw-in flier at this point. For the Angels the real value of dealing Fuentes was simply to clear the $1.8 million left on his contract for this season off the books. They can use some of that money to pay for Van Mil’s custom uniforms.

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.