The Red Sox have acquired catcher Tyler Heineman from the Mets, per announcements from both teams. The latter club, who designated Heineman for assignment earlier this week, receive cash considerations in return. The Sox designated right-hander Max Castillo for assignment in a corresponding move.
Heineman, 33, is a switch-hitting catcher with part-time exposure in the big leagues since his 2019 debut. He has appeared in 104 games over four campaigns combined, walking in just 7.1% of his plate appearances but striking out at just a 12.4% clip. He has just one home run in that time, leading to a batting line of .218/.297/.282.
He finished the 2023 season on the Blue Jays’ roster but was claimed off waivers by the Mets in December. He lasted almost two months with that club before being nudged off the roster when they signed Adam Ottavino.
His major league track record is limited but he’s generally produced intriguing Triple-A results in a low-power, strikeout-dodging fashion. He’s stepped up to the plate 1,328 times at the Triple-A level and only has 23 homers in that time. But his 9.3% walk rate is fairly solid while his 15.1% strikeout rate is quite low. For reference, last year’s major league averages were 8.6% for walks and 22.7% for strikeouts. All of that has led to a line of .276/.350/.402.
Defensively, his track record is quite solid. Statcast considers him to be above average both in terms of throwing and blocking. Baseball Prospectus agrees and both outlets consider him to be a good pitch framer as well. The Sox have Connor Wong and Reese McGuire lined up to be their catching tandem in 2024, but Heineman still has one minor league option. That means he can be kept in Triple-A as depth until an injury creates a need at the big league level.
Castillo, 25 in May, has 59 2/3 innings of major league experience. He got those innings over the past two years, split between the Jays and the Royals. He has a 5.43 earned run average in that time, along with an 18.1% strikeout rate, 9.3% walk rate and 44.7% ground ball rate. He spent most of last year at Triple-A, posting an ERA of 4.58 in 116 innings at that level.
The Sox claimed him off waivers from the Royals a month ago but he’s now lost his roster spot a month later. Boston will have one week to work out a trade or try to pass him through waivers. He still has one option year remaining and could appeal to clubs looking for extra pitching depth.