Another day, another angry catcher in the fallout of Major League Baseball’s decision to cap mound visits at six in an effort to speed up the game.
This time, it’s Boston Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez expressing his clear displeasure with the change.
When asked Wednesday how he felt about the new rule, the 27-year-old backstop answered with plenty of candor.
“I don’t like it,” Vazquez said, via WEEI.com’s John Tomase. “It’s too much change. They want to hurry up the game, but if I need to go 12 times for a mound visit, I need it, man. To change signs, to talk to my pitcher … (taking that away,) it’s too much.”
A big sticking point for Vazquez is the fact that in division games — particularly those later in the year — division opponents are going to start picking up on your signs. As a result, with runners on second base oftentimes a catcher has to utilize a mound visit to throw the baserunner off.
“That’s the little thing that helps you win a game,” he said. “If the runner has the signs, you need to go out to the mound and change it. If not, it’s going to be a two-run homer. The fans pay to see a great game, but you need to make sure you do the right things to win the game.
“I hope they let me go one more. Seven times,” he added. “We need it, man. In our division, they see a lot of signs. It’s tough. I don’t agree with that.”
Vazquez also echoed a point that was stated by Chicago Cubs pitcher Jon Lester: players don’t hold mound visits just to chit-chat, it’s with a specific purpose.
With that in mind, the Red Sox’s catcher expressed the reasons he goes to the mound.
“Calm down the pitcher,” he said. “Maybe he’s struggling yanking the ball. You need to slow him down, stay tall, something. Make sure you’re calming down the pitcher. The pitcher needs to make sure they know what they’re doing to control the game, slow down the game. We waste a mound visit doing that, it’s going to be harder for us.”
That certainly is legit.
Lester’s teammate, Willson Contreras already indicated he plans on just ignoring the rule altogether if he needs extra mound visits. And though Vazquez stated he probably will just suck it up and stay behind the plate once he reaches his visit limit, it must not be any less infuriating for the catcher and pitcher.
Who knows, maybe the league will walk back the rule a touch so long as it keeps getting all this brushback. But for now, players likely will have no choice but to just adhere to it.