The Boston Red Sox front office didn't re-sign Christian Vazquez in free agency this winter, but the team's coaches and players are still close with their former catcher.
In fact, Vazquez's bond with his ex-teammates runs deep enough that they invited him to their Super Bowl watch party on Sunday. Vazquez is in Fort Myers, Fla., with the Minnesota Twins, whose spring training facility is a short drive from the Red Sox's JetBlue Park, so the Sox told Vazquez to swing by to watch the game with them -- although they had to take one precaution now that he's on a different team.
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"There was a lot of giving him a hard time because AC (manager Alex Cora) told us to show up at 4 (pm) and he told him to show up at 5," Red Sox utility player Kiké Hernández said Monday, via Mass Live's Christopher Smith.
"(Vazquez) was like, ‘Well, he told me to show up at 5.’ I was like, ‘Well, you’re on another team now. We were talking about the signs and stuff and you can’t know the signs now.'"
Vazquez, who signed a three-year, $ 30 million contract with the Twins on Dec. 16, has been in Fort Myers for "a couple weeks," per Hernandez, who said they briefly discussed what his life has been like on a new team.
"It was just asking him who’s there already and what’s different from there and here," Hernandez said. "There’s not much he can say yet because camp hasn’t started but it was just good seeing him. We kept in touch in the offseason. But seeing each other in person is just good."
Vazquez was a popular player in Boston's clubhouse, and the team's decision to deal him to the Houston Astros at last year's MLB trade deadline reportedly didn't sit well with some in the organization. Vazquez got a World Series ring out of the trade, though, and the Red Sox reportedly were considering bringing him back in free agency this winter before he landed with Minnesota.
Instead, Boston is currently rolling with the trio of Reese McGuire, Connor Wong and Jorge Alfaro. You could argue that $ 30 million is an overpay for the 32-year-old Vazquez, but he clearly was an important member of the Red Sox who will be missed in the locker room this season.