Former Red Sox fan favorite signs minor-league deal with Royals

Kansas City signed a quality backup catcher as they field a much more competitive team for 2024.

Texas Rangers catcher Sandy Leon (12) catches a pop fly in fair territory in the sixth inning during
Texas Rangers catcher Sandy Leon (12) catches a pop fly in fair territory in the sixth inning during / Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY
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The Kansas City Royals have signed a 2018 World Series champion to a minor league deal, as Sandy León is headed to the Midwest to continue his baseball career in the lower leagues.

León, currently entering his age-35 season, made his big-league debut with the Washington Nationals in 2012. He played with Boston from 2015 to 2019, which included the most successful years of his career.

In 2016, the switch-hitter had a standout year at the plate despite beginning his season in the minors with the Sox. He logged a .310 batting average and a .845 OPS, along with seven homers and 35 RBI in 78 games.

León contributed to Boston's historic 2018 campaign as well. He served as Christian Vázquez's backup catcher, making 89 appearances. His plate appearances weren't as successful as his 2016 slate, but León's high-caliber defense was a necessary reprieve for Vázquez all season.

Sandy León spent the best years of his career with the Red Sox

After the 2019 season and more time in the minors with the Red Sox, they dished León to Cleveland, where he played in just eight major league games. He's since played for Minnesota and Texas, not making more than 25 major league appearances for either club.

Despite signing him to a minor-league deal, the Royals may get a lot of use out of León at Kauffman Stadium and beyond this season.

He's been invited to Kansas City's Spring Training, which shows the team may be planning to put León's services to good use. Salvador Pérez has been a reliable catcher for the Royals for years now, but as he's entering his age-34 season, a time when catching the majority of KC's games will likely become a more demanding feat. León will serve as a more-than-competent backup plan if something goes awry with the Royals' catching situation this season.

MLB Trade Rumors has also suggested that León could handle a stint at first base if Vinnie Pasquantino had to return to the injured list for any reason.

After signing another former Red Sox in Michael Wacha and other notable players this offseason like Seth Lugo and Hunter Renfroe, Kansas City seems primed to compete in 2024. León is another great addition to the Royals and their improving roster as they try to work their way up the AL Central standings.

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