How Martin Maldonado-to-Royals impacts Red Sox's catcher situation

Darren Hartwell
NBC Sports Boston

How Martin Maldonado-to-Royals impacts Red Sox's catcher situation originally appeared on nbcsportsboston.com

The Boston Red Sox likely are trading a catcher before Opening Day. The Kansas City Royals recently lost starting catcher Salvador Perez for the season.

Seems like a good match, no? It could have been ... until Saturday.

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That's when The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reported the Royals had agreed with free-agent catcher Martin Maldonado on a one-year, $2.5 million contract for 2019.

Maldonado is by no means an elite catcher -- he batted .225 in 2018 with nine home runs and 44 RBIs -- but did play in 119 games last season and figures to be Kansas City's everyday backstop with Perez sidelined.

That means another trade partner likely is off the board for the Red Sox, who have about two and a half weeks to choose two of Christian Vazquez, Sandy Leon and Blake Swihart for their Opening Day roster and will be looking to move the odd man out.

The Maldonado deal may help Boston's trade ball get rolling, though. The 32-year-old was the last notable catcher remaining on the free agent market, so if teams want to improve their catcher situation, their main avenue now is the trade market.

Dave Dombrowski's door certainly will be open for business. The Red Sox's president of baseball operations recently said the last two weeks of spring training are when conversations with other teams usually "pick up," which suggests we could start hearing trade chatter by the middle or end of next week.

Until then, Vazquez, Leon and Swihart will continue to see regular at-bats in spring training -- all three have appeared in at least five games so far this spring -- with catcher-needy teams watching with interest from afar.

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