Photo Credit: John Bazemore / AP

After signing a three year extension, it is clear that the Red Sox catcher is ready to take another step in 2018.

It was announced on March 24th that the Red Sox had inked Christian Vazquez to a three year extension worth $13.3 million.

This deal is extremely cost-effective for a franchise that will soon be hampered by a flood of large contracts. Alex Cora had recently mentioned that Sandy Leon would no longer be Chris Sale‘s personal catcher, thus opening the door for more starts behind the plate for Vazquez.

The name of the game is defense for the Red Sox beloved catcher. After surviving a potential career-altering injury with a torn UCL, “CoLo” has proven he’s healthy once again. He receives the ball well, possesses exceptional blocking skills, and is known for showing off his cannon of an arm.

This also went in conjunction with his rookie scouting report:

Potential to be one of the best defensive catchers in baseball who can also add enough value with his bat. Has the arm to shut down the running game. Receiving and framing will also add significant value. Gold Glove-caliber defender. Student of the game, really works hard at his craft. Potential to hit .260 with 10+ home runs a year in his peak. – SoxProspects

Vazquez also plays the game with a unique combination of fire and style. Often times, one will witness an exuberant fist pump after a huge strikeout, or a bat flip after a long homerun.

In addition to his plus defense, Vazquez has improved at the plate every year. After returning from TJ surgery, he hit .227 in 2016 while increasing to .290 in 2017. Additionally, his power numbers have begin to steadily increase – hitting a lone homer in 2016 and 5 last season. Of the five last season, perhaps none were bigger than the walk off against Cleveland.

The Red Sox have acknowledged that they have a potential stalwart behind the plate with this extension. Gone are the days of odd platoons behind the plate and now is Vazquez’ time to shine.

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What’s next?

The Red Sox catcher is wrapping up Spring Training with a .361 average and two homeruns. Obviously, the average will be an unsustainable average; however the increased power is encourage once again.

On Thursday, the Red Sox open the season at 4 pm ET against the Tampa Bay Rays. Expect to see Christian Vazquez behind the plate on Opening Day.

Sit back. Relax. Enjoy CoLo’s epic fist pumps.