Most people think that Kevin Towers is a goner after the season, what with the lack of success of the Dbacks, several player moves which have not worked out too well and the fact that ownership brought in Tony La Russa and created a job for him that is above Towers in the pecking order.
But if Towers is feeling the heat, he’s not showing it. Steve Gilbert of MLB.com has a Q&A up with Towers about all things Dbacks today, and one of his questions is about the La Russa situation:
MLB.com: Tony La Russa has said recently that there are a lot of good things going on in the organization, and it seems like you two have developed a good rapport so far.
Towers: He’s been great. It’s nice to have a guy that’s been as successful in uniform around. Our dialogue has been good. I mean he’s a baseball guy, he’s easy to talk to. It’s nice to be able to pick his brain. I always wanted to pick his brain when he was in the other dugout with the Cardinals. Now when you have him on the same team, it’s very valuable — not just to me but the entire organization to have someone with his knowledge and success here.
He notes at the end that, yes, his situation is sort of up in the air. But I guess if he is canned, at least he’s had a few good months of baseball talk with a Hall of Famer.
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.