Tomase: We can now say Bloom got the Vazquez trade right


Chaim Bloom may not have aced the trade deadline, but he did this much right -- he got something for Christian Vazquez.

The deal that sent Vazquez to the Astros in August hit the Red Sox clubhouse like a wrecking ball, but based on Vazquez's two and a half months in Houston, it's hard to say Bloom erred.

Vazquez is a backup with the Astros, who have stuck with veteran Martin Maldonado despite his .185 batting average. Vazquez hasn't hit at all since switching jerseys (.585 OPS), and the majority of the rotation, including ace Justin Verlander, prefers throwing to Maldonado. That means Vazquez has basically been a bystander this postseason, appearing in two games of the Division Series vs. the Mariners.

Vazquez posted better numbers with the Red Sox, but he still didn't represent the difference between making and missing the playoffs, so trading him made sense. The players, of course, didn't see it that way. They took it as a sign that management had surrendered on the season, and if there's an enduring image of this lost campaign, it's a downtrodden Vazquez being consoled by his stunned suddenly-former teammates before crossing the field during batting practice with the Astros, since the trade went down while the Red Sox were in Houston.

The front office belatedly countered by adding Eric Hosmer and Tommy Pham, which proved much too little, much too late. The players saw only a white flag, not reinforcements.

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The Red Sox objectively weren't going anywhere, and Vazquez should've been only the start. Bloom undoubtedly regrets keeping right-hander Nathan Eovaldi and designated hitter J.D. Martinez. A sell-off of pending free agents that might've benefited the future never came. Instead, the front office settled on ineffectual half measures.

They made the right call on Vazquez, though. The longest-tenured player in the organization turned 32 in August and had regressed on both sides of the ball. With free agency looming, he was unlikely to be retained, so Bloom pulled the trigger.

He acquired power prospects Wilyer Abreu and Enmanuel Valdez, who rank 18th and 23rd, respectively, on the team's top 30 list, per MLB Pipeline. Simultaneously, he replaced Vazquez with longtime backup Reese McGuire, who arrived from the White Sox for lefty Jake Diekman and promptly hit .337, albeit in limited playing time.

McGuire looks like a cheap fit for next year's team as either a starter splitting time with Connor Wong, or a backup if the Red Sox delve into the catching market. Maybe one of the two prospects will pop.

Either way, that's more future value than Vazquez represented, since he wasn't going to receive a qualifying offer. And his slide to irrelevance in Houston should serve as a reminder that the clubhouse doesn't always know best.

If you put it to a vote, 24 other players would've demanded to keep Vazquez. It's Bloom's job to see beyond their emotional connections, though, and in the case of Vazquez we should acknowledge that he made the right call.

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