Apr 23, 2015; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox catcher Sandy Leon (3) at bat against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Choice B: DFA Leon, roll with Swihart and Hanigan.
This would be the win-now, throw all caution to the wind move. Leon was never expected to be more than a backup catcher by the Red Sox and they were forced to scoop him up after the Vazquez injury for nothing but cash considerations, but it’s getting hard to ignore how absolutely terrible he’s been at the plate. Through 31 games this season, Leon has been nearly an automatic out, slashing .146/.222/.159 and has merited just -0.4 WAR according to Fangraphs.
Sure, he’s an above-average defensive catcher, but he’s unlikely to ever be more than a backup (and not even a very good one at that). Even if the Red Sox designate him for assignment and expose him to waivers, there’s a non-zero chance that he clears waivers and that the Red Sox will be able to place him in Pawtucket.
Still, there are also some clear downsides to designating Leon. While there is a chance he clears waivers, there’s also a decent chance that he doesn’t– good defensive catchers don’t grow on trees and there could be teams willing to give him a roster spot. That’s not immediately bad for the Red Sox, but it leaves the team with very little catching depth in the upper minors in the event of an injury to Hanigan or Swihart, which could lead to another rushed acquisition from the waiver wire.
In addition, this would lead to a timeshare between Swihart and Hanigan, which might not be how the Red Sox plan to use their young catcher in his rookie season. Still, both Swihart and Hanigan are considerably better than Leon and, barring an injury, this choice absolutely gives the Red Sox the best chance to win on any given night.