A popular former Red Sox catcher has found a new team.
Veteran backstop Kevin Plawecki has agreed to a minor league contract with the Pirates, according to a team announcement. Plawecki will likely compete for the backup job in Pittsburgh, where the Bucs have only two catchers on their 40-man roster (veteran Austin Hedges and prospect Endy Rodriguez).
Plawecki, who turns 32 in two weeks, spent three seasons with the Red Sox before being surprisingly designated for assignment and released in a September move that was not well-received in Boston’s clubhouse. Though the Red Sox wanted to use the final weeks of the season to get extended looks at Reese McGuire and Connor Wong, who project to be their top two catchers in 2023, some veterans in the clubhouse were irked by the treatment of Plawecki, a popular clubhouse figure. Veteran pitchers Nathan Eovaldi and Rich Hill both spoke up on Plawecki’s behalf.
“It was very difficult,” Hill said at the time of the move. “Throughout the clubhouse, it was a tough one for everybody. What everybody sees out in the field and in the dugout… what you don’t realize is the humanity side of this game. We’re not just all numbers. We’re human beings. And removing a guy like that from the clubhouse is a big hit for a lot of guys. I would say everybody in here.”
Plawecki hit just .217 with one homer, 12 RBIs and a .574 OPS in 60 games for the Red Sox last season before finishing his year with a three-game cameo in Texas. In 148 games in Boston between 2020 and 2022, Plawecki hit .270 with five homers, 44 RBIs and a .697 OPS, primarily working as Christian Vázquez’s backup. He was also the player credited with introducing the club to “Dancing On My Own,” the Calum Scott remix that became an anthem during Boston’s surprising run to the 2021 ALCS, as well as the laundry cart celebration seen after home runs.
In Pittsburgh, Plawecki will be reunited with Hill, who signed a one-year, $8 million deal with the rebuilding Pirates in December.