Free-agent catcher Christian Vazquez moving on with Minnesota after playing 41 games in Houston

The Astros' post-World Series roster has only Martin Maldonado at catcher after Vazquez's departure and Jason Castro's retirement.

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Tuesday, December 13, 2022
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HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- No one can say Christian Vazquez's brief 41-game stint with the Houston Astros wasn't a fruitful one.

After the 'Stros acquired him from the Red Sox right in the middle of a series between the two teams, the catcher split time with platoon-mate Martin Maldonado, resulting in not just a World Series championship, but also calling the signs for Houston's historic no-hitter in Game 4 against the Phillies.

The video above is from Nov. 3, 2022, a day after the no-hitter in the Fall Classic.

So all of this is to say that Vazquez's Houston career won't go beyond 41 appearances now that the free agent is expected to sign with the Minnesota Twins. MLB Network's Jon Heyman was the first to report the signing Monday, citing sources close to the deal.

Terms were not mentioned in Heyman's reporting.

The 32-year-old's departure should make Houston's depth behind the plate a bit thinner despite the club's pursuit to upgrade the position on offense. Maldonado will continue to take on the role despite subpar batting numbers. And Jason Castro, whose deal with the Astros expired after the World Series, decided to retire. The Astros also have prospects Korey Lee and Yanier Diaz, but they may be another season away from getting regular work in the majors.

The 'Stros, who continue to go without a general manager, were linked to several free agent catchers on the market besides Vazquez. The Houston Chronicle reported on the potential of landing Willson Contreras, as well as an under-contract player like Oakland's Sean Murphy. Instead, Contreras took a multi-year deal with St. Louis, and the A's shipped Murphy out to Atlanta in a three-team deal.

A Sports Illustrated report on Monday also suggested trade talks between Houston and Arizona over catcher/outfielder Daulton Varsho.

If reports hold true, it will mark the second straight offseason that an Astros free agent signs with the Twins. Carlos Correa famously headed up north on a three-year deal that included a player option that he exercised after 2022.