Red Sox trade for catcher Sandy Leon


With Christian Vazquez likely to miss significant time with an injury to his throwing elbow, the Red Sox catching situation has been up in the air for the last few days. However, the Red Sox may have ended, or at least temporarily closed, that debate by acquiring catcher Sandy Leon from the Nationals.

Leon is hardly a longterm solution behind the plate, but he at least brings more to the table than non-roster invitee Humberto Quintero. He has only played sparingly in the major leagues, participating in 34 total major league games over the last three seasons, and the results haven’t been particularly good as he sports a .189/.280/.253 slash line in 107 plate appearances. The 26-year old Leon does have a better track record in the minor leagues, though.

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In 51 games in Triple-A Syracuse, he slashed only .229/.321/.371 but his career Triple-A line of .257/.358/.414 is significantly more impressive. Still, even if Leon is nothing special at the plate, he has the potential to be quite notable behind it.

Last season, he threw out 57% of attempting base stealers in Triple-A (and threw out an astounding 63% in a small major league sample) and he has thrown out a still-impressive 45% throughout his minor league career.

Leon won’t be anything more than a backup catcher for the Red Sox, but he is practically a stud compared to Quintero. This acquisition makes it much more palatable to send top prospect Blake Swihart to Triple-A to start the season. A tandem of Ryan Hanigan and Leon has the potential to at least be a lockdown defensive duo and, with an inexperienced Red Sox pitching staff, that’s likely by design.

There has been no news as to what the Red Sox are sending to Washington in exchange for Leon, but it’s likely an insignificant minor leaguer or even a player to be named later. Expect Leon to start the season as Boston’s backup catcher and likely stay in that role until Swihart is major-league ready.

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