This offseason has seen several players pack their bags, change teams, and relocate to new cities. However, nobody has lived out of a suitcase more than Ryan Lavarnway. Since November 25th, just a few days before Thanksgiving, Lavarnway has been a member of four different teams, and is now looking for a fifth.
Lavarnway made his Major League debut back in 2011 with the Boston Red Sox. Once regarded as one of the Red Sox top rated prospects, and 2010 co-Minor League Offensive Player of the Year, he has only been able to appear in 97 big-league games across parts of four seasons. Between a combination of injuries and just players ahead of him on the depth chart, everyday at-bats have been hard to come by for the 6’4″ catcher/first basemen.
When Boston designated him for assignment at the end of November, it appeared to be Lavarnway’s chance to land in a spot and get those consistent at-bats. With an opening, the Los Angeles Dodgers claimed him on December 5th. But, a flurry of moves saw that opening quickly close, and Lavarnway was designated again a few weeks later.
On December 19th, the Chicago Cubs claimed the right-hander off of waivers. It looked to be another former Red Sox finding his way through the pipeline to Chicago and landing with the ex-Boston/current Chicago regime. That lasted all of four days.
Just before Christmas on December 23rd, Lavarnway was claimed by team number four in the Baltimore Orioles to fill an opening. But, sadly hard luck has struck again, as the Orioles designated him on January 9th. Lavarnway is now back on the market for the rest of the league to put a claim in on his services.
With still over a month away before camps open, here is hoping that Lavarnway is able to find a team and be able to stick with a club long enough to actually put on a uniform. If given an opportunity, he does have power potential to contribute toward the bottom half of a lineup. He can serve as a platoon catcher, first baseman, and in the American League as a (Designated) Hitter.
The Chicago White Sox, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Detroit Tigers are a few teams that could consider adding catching depth. Hopefully Lavarnway can find a place and unpack for a good length of time.