Humberto Quintero, like the Boston Red Sox, has a decision to make. And, like his organization, the veteran catcher will take his time.
Quintero, who is battling with newly acquired Sandy Leon for Boston’s backup catcher’s job, has an opt-out clause in his contract that kicked in Tuesday. The 35-year-old could opt out of his deal with the Red Sox rather than accept a minor league assignment, but he indicated Tuesday he’s willing to see how things play out with Opening Day less than one week away.
“You never know,” Quintero told reporters, including WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford. “I’m going to wait for a couple of more days to see what they’re going to do.”
The Red Sox placed starting catcher Christian Vazquez on the 60-day disabled list Monday and acquired Leon from the Washington Nationals. Leon, who is out of minor league options, has the inside track on Boston’s backup catcher’s job, while Ryan Hanigan is expected to begin the season as the club’s starter.
Quintero, who has 471 games of major league experience, could join Triple-A Pawtucket as organizational depth, at which point the Red Sox would be required to pay him $100,000. Top prospect Blake Swihart figures to be the PawSox’s starting catcher, though, so Quintero has a difficult decision to make, especially when one considers there might not be many suitors across the league if he opts out of his contract with Boston.
“It’s a decision that’s part of baseball,” Quintero said Tuesday. “The only thing I can do is every time they tell me to play is try and do my best.”
Quintero has played for five teams over the course of his 12-year major league career. It’s unclear at this point whether he’ll ever suit up for the Red Sox in a regular-season contest, but this week will go a long way toward determining the journeyman’s short-term future.
Quintero has another opt-out clause in his contract for June 1 if he doesn’t opt out this time around, according to Bradford.
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