Source: Sox make it known Lavarnway is available

Source: Sox make it known Lavarnway is available
March 17, 2014, 12:00 pm
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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Crowded out of playing time at the big league level and in Pawtucket, too, Ryan Lavarnway is being shopped around by the Red Sox, according to an industry source.
    
"They're making it known he's available,'' a veteran National League talent evaluator said of the Red Sox.
    
The Red Sox have veterans A.J. Pierzynski and David Ross to handle the catching duties. Meanwhile, in Pawtucket, the Sox expect that Christian Vazquez and Daniel Butler to handle the majority of playing time behind the plate in Pawtucket.
    
Lavarnway was introduced to first base this spring as a means of making him more versatile and getting him a chance to get at-bats in a role other than catching. If Lavarnway goes to Pawtucket, it's likely most of his playing time will be at first and DH.
    
Once considered the Red Sox catcher of the future, Lavarnway, 26, has seen his career stall. Over parts of three seasons in the big leagues, he's put together a slash line of .208/.258/.327 in 88 games.
    
In the final weeks of the 2011 season, it seemed that Lavarnway would soon overtake Jarrod Saltalamacchia as the Sox' No. 1 catcher. With Saltalamacchia tiring down the stretch, Lavarnway caught the final two games of the team's ill-fated 2011 playoff push, hitting cleanup and homering in the second to last game of the season. But he stumbled the following year and in the last year has been overtaken on the organizational depth chart by Vazquez and Blake Swihart, two catchers with higher upside.
    
Vazquez is more accomplished defensively with a plus arm, while Swihart, who's still developing as a catcher, has more potential as a hitter.
    
"I think most teams now see him as a No. 3 catcher,'' said an American League evaluator of Lavarnway "He could play a little first and DH, and be available if you needed someone behind the plate.''
    
The problem, however, as the Red Sox have discovered, is that Lavanrway needs regular playing time to hit, having struggled at the plate with occasional playing time.