Who knew releasing a backup catcher would create so much controversy?
The Boston Red Sox designated veteran catcher Kevin Plawecki for assignment last week, freeing up a roster spot to promote pitching prospect Franklin German from Triple-A Worcester.
Plawecki was a popular figure in the Boston clubhouse, and his departure later in the week did not sit well with players like pitcher Nathan Eovaldi, who he called the move “disappointing” and “a shock to me”.
Plawecki’s release also faced outside criticism, with many wondering why the team parted ways with a clubhouse “glue guy” instead of a fringe roster member like outfielder Abraham Almonte.
While Red Sox manager Alex Cora may not agree with every move Chaim Bloom has made this season, he came to the defense of Boston’s director of baseball on Wednesday regarding Plawecki’s decision.
“I hate when people bring up business when you have baseball decisions to make,” Cora told WEEI’s “Merloni, Mego & Fauria” in a radio interview.
Cora added that keeping “journeymen or Four-A” players like Almonte, Rob Refsnyder and John Schreiber on the roster essentially allows them to audition for their next job with a major league team. Plawecki, who has eight years of major league experience as a solid backup catcher, didn’t necessarily need that audition.
“We love Kevin,” Cora said. “I think Kevin is going to be fine. Probably sooner than later he’s going to be a major league player. We appreciate everything he did for us.”
Cora was proven right, as the Texas Rangers signed Plawecki to a major league contract Wednesday night.
As for speculation that morale is low in a Red Sox clubhouse that has lost several beloved players since the team reached the 2021 ALCS (Hunter Renfroe, Kyle Schwarber and Christian Vázquez, to name a few), Cora insisted his club is fine.
“People have their ideas about whether it was timely, all of that. The only thing I can tell you for myself is that I remember being with 15 to 18 people in the clubhouse after the decision was made and we had drinks and talked about the last year and this year with Kevin,” Cora said.
“All this stuff about our breakup and this, whatever, yeah, people have opinions, but at the end of the day we’re still a family, we have a great culture. We wish Kevin nothing but the best.”