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Red Sox sign Kevin Plawecki

The guy being replaced by Sandy León in Cleveland is replacing Sandy León in Boston.

Cleveland Indians v Minnesota Twins Photo by David Berding/Getty Images

Well, the Red Sox may have their new backup catcher, at least according to a report from Robert Murray. He is reporting that Boston has agreed to terms with former Mets and Indians backup catcher Kevin Plawecki.

Alex Speier has confirmed the report and indicates it’s a major-league deal.

This is mostly interesting to me due to the game of musical chairs involved. If you’ll recall, the Red Sox traded Sandy León to Cleveland earlier in the winter. Plawecki spent last season as Cleveland’s backup catcher and was non-tendered shortly after León was acquired. Now, he replaces León in Boston. Funny how the world works, eh?

As far as the player himself, well, he’s kind of similar to León, I suppose. There’s probably a little more upside in the bat — he hit well throughout his time in the minors and over 395 plate appearances between 2017 and 2018 he put up an OPS+ of 96, which is very good for a catcher — but that’s an extremely low bar. Last season, he got to the plate 174 times for the Indians and finished with a 64 OPS+, meaning he was 36 percent worse than league-average after adjusting for park effects.

Defensively, he doesn’t grade out super consistently, but there is reason to believe between the statistics (from Baseball Prospectus) and general reputation that he can be above-average back there. Last season BP had him well above-average in terms of framing, and he graded out well early in his career as well. It is worth mentioning, however, he graded out negatively in both 2017 and 2018. He has consistently been better than average at limiting stolen bases.

As of this writing, we do not know the terms of the contract, nor do we know how the team is making room on the 40-man roster, which was full before this signing. We’ll keep you posted when that information becomes available.

Update: Bob Nightengale says it’s a one-year deal worth $900,000. It’s worth nothing that Plawecki is arbitration-eligible for the next two seasons after this upcoming one as well.

Update 2: Sam Travis has been designated for assignment to make room for Plawecki. More on this soon.