(The following article written by Joel Ortiz Rivera was translated, edited and reprinted from PRIMERAHORA.COM)
The Puerto Rican catcher, who just won his second World Series ring, is a free agent for the first time in his career.
What began as a somewhat bitter moment for Christian Vázquez in August, when he learned in the middle of a Red Sox batting practice in Houston that he had been traded to the Astros, culminated in the Puerto Rican catcher receiving a ‘no hitter’ in the World Series and winning his second major league championship ring.
On Tuesday, a day after the celebration parade through the streets of Houston, Vázquez spoke with Primera Hora as a free agent. It is the first time in his career that he does not have a signed contract and he ventures into the free agent market to see what destiny holds for him and his family.
“I am very happy and grateful to God. The experience was great, ”said Vázquez already in his home in Florida. “I had been in Boston for 15 years and after so long they traded me. It’s like when you change schools. But everything works for the best, and I think God wanted us in Houston to give us a gift with a World Series.”
“There are few who have two rings … and well sweated, because I was part of Houston and we had a ‘no hitter’ that was special too. We had a special group, incredible pitching, incredible lineup, and every night there was a different hero,” he added.
When comparing the other World Series he won, the 2018 one with the Red Sox, he considered that this time the experience was superior. The Astros beat the Phillies in the final 4-2, while in 2018, the Red Sox had a wide dominance over the Los Angeles Dodgers and won 4-1.
“For me this series was more fought than the one in Boston. We opened losing against the Phillies. We were squeezed in Game 3, which gave us five home runs, and we had to come from behind to win three in a row. It’s like we had to sweat it more, “he said.
He admitted that, after all, he felt great in Houston and that the Astros’ clubhouse welcomed him with open arms.
“I had been playing against them for so many years that figures like Altuve, Bregman, Michael Brantley, Justin Verlander… they were all familiar faces. There was also Machete (Martín Maldonado) who I’ve known him for years and played against him… (Alex) Cintrón, (Joe) Espada… I really felt comfortable. The change was mostly about adapting to how they play the ball, and I was able to do it quickly,” he explained.
On Monday, along with the rest of the Astros, he was able to feel the gratitude of a city that goes out of its way for his team and the direct contact with the people on the avenues of Houston.
“The celebration was something out of this league. There were more than a million people who welcomed us with open arms”, he recalled excitedly. “It was ‘parapelos‘ (hair raising) to see so many people. During the hour and a half that it lasted, it was a sea of people, everywhere. They looked like little ants.”
But the celebration is over and the World Series is over, a moment that every year is like the kickoff of free agency, and Christian is a rookie in that regard.
He said he hasn’t talked about free agency yet and that his agent, Melvin Roman of MDR Sports, left Tuesday for Las Vegas, where owners and general managers of major league teams are meeting this year. Vázquez said he assumes Roman would initiate talks at those meetings and then contact him to outline what offers are on the table.
Asked directly, Vázquez said that he would not rule out a return to either Houston or Boston, the franchise that drafted him in 2008 and with whom he played his entire career until this year.
“Obviously you have to leave the doors open everywhere. One cannot close them in places where they fed you. You never know what’s in it for you. You just have to wait,” he said.
“But those things have to be discussed with Melvin and with my wife. I would look for a place where I feel comfortable and that is the best for me and my family. I don’t know anything yet, but that’s what I plan to look for, what’s best for my family and me, “he concluded.
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