Buckley on Cherington's long-term plans

Buckley on Cherington's long-term plans
November 14, 2013, 11:45 pm
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The Red Sox have used nine catchers since Jason Varitek retired. Is there a long-term solution behind the plate on the horizon?

That's one of the subjects that the Boston Herald's Steve Buckley discussed on "Uno Sports Tonight" Thursday with Michael Felger and Gary Tanguay.

The long-term answer at catcher are Sox prospects Christian Vazquez or Blake Swihart, who are still a year or two away from the majors. In the meantime, with incumbent Jarrod Saltalamacchia a free agent, where do the Sox go until the kids are ready? Back to Salty?

No, says Buckley.

"I still like [former Phillies catcher and free agent Carlos] Ruiz," he said. "If you get Ruiz for two years then you've got your bridge to Vazquez and Swihart."

Where does that leave Saltalamacchia? The panel agreed that an offer of $16 million over two years would get a "thanks, but no thanks" from Salty, who would likely land a more lucrative deal elsewhere.

Looking even further ahead at Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington's blueprint for the next four to five years, where does Jon Lester fit into that equation?

"Lester is a franchise player and proven postseason performer," Buckley said. So, after next season, does he land Cliff Lee-type money, $25 million a year, from the Red Sox?

Buckley says yes. Felger cautions that deals such as six years at $25 million a year, particularly for pitchers, can get a franchise into a lot of trouble.