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Sandy León clears waivers, is outrighted to Pawtucket

No one claims the veteran catcher.

MLB: World Series-Boston Red Sox at Los Angeles Dodgers Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Red Sox made the decision earlier this week to place Sandy León on waivers, in turn keeping Blake Swihart on the active roster. It wasn’t a big surprise that no team was willing to part with anything of value for León, but I figured some team would want his plus defense and experience behind the plate despite his $2.475 million salary for 2019. Apparently, I misread how the market saw him, because León has cleared waivers. The report comes from Evan Drellich.

Now, León has a choice to make. Previously we had indicated that León would be able to decline his assignment to Pawtucket, and while that’s still true it’s not quite as simple. Explained here by Sox Prospects’ Chris Hatfield, León has enough service time to refuse an assignment to the minors, but doing so would mean forfeiting his salary for the year. In other words, he has to decide now if he wants to try to get a major-league job for likely a little under $2 million less than his current salary or if he wants to make the extra money and play in Pawtucket. For clarity, this money still does count against the luxury tax. It seems he has decided for option number two.

Given how much concern the Red Sox seem to have towards that top luxury tax bracket, they likely would have seen either option as a win. From a purely team-building perspective, however, this works out better. They now have a third catcher they know they can trust, and he can help work with the young pitchers in Triple-A as well. I really didn’t see any way to get to Opening Day with all three catchers still in the organization, but sometimes things still work out.

Update: It seems León still may have to formally accept the assignment, so maybe this isn’t over yet.