Boston Red Sox avoid arbitration with deals for eligible players
Catcher Sandy Leon is set to earn $2.475 million in his second year of arbitration, up from $1.95 million last season. He was projected for $2.3 million.
Leon’s breakout year at the plate in 2016 is a distant memory, as he’s now a liability in the lineup. He hit a pitiful .177/.232/.279 with five home runs and 22 RBI in 265 at-bats last season.
Despite his anemic contributions to the offense, Leon still manages to earn playing time with his elite defense and game-calling skills. He was tied for second in the majors at his position with 12 defensive runs saved and committed only one error for a near-perfect .999 fielding percentage.
The Red Sox pitching staff loves working with Leon, with ace Chris Sale using him almost exclusively as his battery mate. Boston’s lineup is deep enough to afford an automatic out near the bottom of the lineup so they’ll keep Leon in the mix as long as he’s keeping the pitchers happy.
Expect Leon to split primary catching duties with Christian Vazquez. While manager Alex Cora may ride the hot hand if either of them shows any signs of life at the plate, the workload should be fairly even by the end of the season.