The delayed start to the 2020 Major League Baseball season isn’t stopping the Boston Red Sox or the Chicago Cubs from conducting business.
The Red Sox on Monday acquired catcher Jhonny Pereda from the Cubs as the player to be named later in the Jan. 21 trade that sent right-hander Travis Lakins to Chicago.
Lakins no longer is with the Cubs organization, as the Baltimore Orioles claimed the 25-year-old pitcher off waivers from Chicago on Jan. 31. But the Cubs still needed to compensate the Red Sox for the teams’ deal, and Boston thus winds up with a 23-year-old backstop known for his defensive skills.
Pereda, who turns 24 on April 18, spent all of last season at Double-A, batting .241 with two home runs, 39 RBIs and a .641 OPS in 98 games.
One shouldn’t expect Pereda to post gaudy offensive numbers, but the Venezuela native has shown an ability to control opponents’ running games behind the plate, throwing out more runners — 44 of 132 (33.3 percent) attempted base stealers — than any other catcher at the Double-A or Triple-A level.
Pereda, signed by the Cubs as an international free agent in 2013, received the 2019 Minor League Rawlings Gold Glove Award at catcher. He also has made 69 starts at first base and two at third base over the course of seven minor league seasons.
Christian Vazquez will continue to serve as the Red Sox’s starting catcher whenever the 2020 regular season begins. It’s unclear whether Jonathan Lucroy or Kevin Plawecki will back him up, but Boston certainly has added organizational depth at the position in recent months, first acquiring Connor Wong from the Los Angeles Dodgers as part of the blockbuster that sent Mookie Betts and David Price to California and now acquiring Pereda from the Cubs.
Pereda is not on the 40-man roster, meaning the Red Sox didn’t need to immediately make a corresponding roster move Monday.
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