We’ve known for a bit how the Red Sox were planning on sorting out their catching situation, which had been one of the biggest questions facing this team since they finished celebrating their 2018 world championship. Though they were able to shuffle three on the roster through all of last season, it wasn’t going to be realistic in 2019. Dave Dombrowski and Alex Cora both acknowledged that to be the case early in the offseason. The assumption from most, myself included, was that whoever was deemed the odd man out would be in another organization for 2019. That will not be the case, at least not to start 2019.
Earlier in the week we learned that Sandy León had been placed on waivers, which came on the heels of his name being brought up in trade rumors. After he cleared waivers, the Red Sox offered an assignment to Pawtucket. Because he was just short of five years of major-league service time, León didn’t have the option of refusing the assignment while still getting his salary. So, he was left with a choice of making $2.475 million for 2019 or going to free agency. In free agency, he may have had an easier path to the majors but he also would have been paid at least $1.5 million less. In the end, he has accepted the assignment, keeping the money while staying in a familiar organization.
This is definitely good news for the Red Sox. Now, the $2.475 million does still factor into luxury tax calculations as the loophole that prevents Rusney Castillo’s salary from counting has been closed. Even with that modest money on the books, León gives the Red Sox two things. Most importantly, he gives them some depth that they know in case one of Christian Vázquez and Blake Swihart underperforms or gets hurt. Either of those scenarios is very possible. Additionally, we all know how well León works with pitchers, and now the young arms in Triple-A will have him to help them out. That certainly can’t hurt.
It should be mentioned, because I’ve been asked a few times, that León would have to go through waivers again if he gets back to the majors. He still can’t be sent freely between Triple-A and the majors.