HOUSTON – In a surreal scene in Minute Maid Park late Monday afternoon, Christian Vazquez was batting for the Red Sox just as news emerged he had been traded to the Astros, Boston’s opponent for the next three days.
The trade — one of three senior baseball officials, Haim Blum, in about an hour — was evidence of the Red Sox turning somewhat sellers as the 6 p.m. ET trade deadline approaches on Tuesday.
Bloom also added defensive back Tommy Pham in a Reds deal for the player to be named or cashed and signed left-back mitigator Jake Dickman to the White Sox for Rhys McGuire, who will share catch-up duties with Boston’s Kevin Blawicki.
For Vasquez, the Red Sox had two prospects — linebacker/back Enmanuel Valdez and linebacker Wilyer Abreu — who ranked 29th and 30th, respectively, according to the MLB Pipeline at the Houston ranch system.
Get Red Sox: INF / OF Enmanuel Valdez, from Wilyer Abreu
Get Astros: C Christian Vasquez
Vazquez has been a regular starter and captain for the Red Sox – the team’s mainstay since 2017. He is eligible for free agency at the end of the season.
“We were like, ‘He just sat in all our hitters meetings and now he’s going over there to face us,'” JD Martinez, Red Sox player, laughed, another candidate that will be dealt with before the deadline.
Looking at the crowd of media surrounding Martinez at the end of the batting practice, it was obvious how chaotic the day was.
“It’s crazy. Fun time to be a fan,” Martinez said. “Sort of mixed feelings if you’re a player. But playing with him was great. He was an incredible fellow. He was probably one of my favorite teammates I played with. He is a wonderful person in general. great person. We will miss him.”
As Vasquez walked back toward the bunker still wearing his Red Sox uniform, he said, “It’s a business.”
Then he was escorted to the club by a PR officer in Boston.
Just a day earlier, Vazquez spoke passionately about his hope that Bloom would keep a veteran core together in hopes of pushing through the post-season. On Monday, the Red Sox came in three and a half games behind in the American League Wild Card hunt. However, of the seven teams competing for three spots, Boston came seventh in the rankings.
The Sox, plagued by injuries and inconsistent play, went 8-19 in July while losing 13 of their last 16 games of the month.
Vasquez had the most tenure of any player in the Boston organization, being drafted from Puerto Rico in the ninth round of the 2008 draft. He made his debut at 14 and landed a last-court slither by Chris Sall in the 18th World Championship playoff in Dodger Stadium.
This season for Boston, Vasquez won the .282/.327/.432 cut-off with eight Homer and 42 RBI.
At Pham, the Red Sox added some pop right into an outdoor arena that didn’t have much production outside of Alex Verdugo. Pham hits 0.238 with 11 Homers and 39 RBI this season.
Pham has not scored a home run since June 30, which is a 25-game period. He ended his spell with the Reds in a 0-10 loss after a three-stroke match against the Marlins on Thursday.
One of the more bizarre moments of the season concerns Pham, who was suspended for three games on May 27 for slapping Giants player Jock Pederson in the face during batting practice. The incident stems from a fantasy football feud.
McGuire (.225, no homers, 10 RBIs in 166 at-bats) is a left-handed bat that the Sox can pair with hitting the right Plawecki at the catcher. Blawicke moved into the squad to replace Vazquez for Monday’s game. Vasquez did not start in Houston.
It will be interesting to see how the two possibilities that Sox gets for Vasquez develop.
Abreu, 23, hit 0.249 while scoring 81 points with 15 homers, 54 RBIs and 23 stolen bases in 89 games for Double-A Corpus Christi this season.
Valdez, also 23, has averaged 0.327 with 21 home points, 77 RBI and 1,016 OPS in 82 games split between Double-A Corpus Christi and Triple-A Sugar Land this season.
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