Ryan Hanigan Contract Option Declined by Red Sox: Latest Details and Reaction

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistNovember 3, 2016

BOSTON, MA - JULY 06:  Ryan Hanigan #10 of the Boston Red Sox runs to first base during the game against the Texas Rangers at Fenway Park on July 6, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

The Boston Red Sox moved on from veteran catcher Ryan Hanigan on Thursday, as they bought him out rather than pick up his contract option for 2017.

Jon Heyman of Today's Knuckleball first reported the news. Rob Bradford of WEEI confirmed the team's decision.

By declining the option, Boston avoided paying Hanigan $3.75 million in 2017 and instead will surrender $800,000 to complete the buyout, according to Spotrac.

The 2016 season was Hanigan's second with the Red Sox, and the club used him sparingly. Hanigan appeared in 35 games, primarily as a backup to Sandy Leon, and hit just .171 with one home run and 14 RBI.

He also missed time due to injury, as an ankle ailment kept him out for nearly all of August.

Hanigan spent the first seven years of his career with the Cincinnati Reds. He had a one-year stint with the Tampa Bay Rays and a two-year run in Boston.

The Washington native has never been much of a threat at the plate. He did, however, hit .300 with five homers and 40 RBI for the Reds in 2010, which was by far his most-productive season.

His career batting average of .250 is solid for a backup backstop, but he was nowhere near that mark in 2016.

Hanigan also struggled defensively by throwing out just 28 percent of attempted base stealers. He posted a career-low Defensive Runs Saved Above Average of -3, according to Baseball-Reference.com.

Hanigan was once among the better defensive catchers in baseball. He led the National League in caught stealing percentage in both 2012 and 2013.

But he had a more dubious distinction in 2016 as the AL leader in passed balls with 18, due primarily to catching knuckleballer Steve Wright.

While 2016 was a down year for Hanigan, he provides a veteran presence and has 647 games of MLB experience under his belt.

The likes of Leon and Blake Swihart are the top current and long-term options for Boston behind the plate. The Red Sox no longer had a need for Hanigan on the big-league roster.

Catching depth is always valuable across Major League Baseball, though. While Hanigan is now a free agent, he deserves an opportunity to make a roster elsewhere, provided he wants to continue playing.

                                          

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