Today, the Red Sox traded for catcher Sandy Leon of the Washington Nationals for cash considerations. This move was necessary due to Christian Vazquez’s elbow sprain. It appears Vazquez will need Tommy John surgery, as he will visit Dr. Andrews Wednesday and was already placed on the 60 Day Disabled List. Seemingly, Vazquez will miss the whole season, giving Leon a chance to win the back-up catcher spot, with Ryan Hanigan the likely starter.
Sandy Leon is a 26 year old switch-hitting catcher. He has played just 34 major league games over three seasons for the Nationals. In that small sample, he hit just .189 with an on-base percentage of .280. In the minor leagues, across eight seasons, he has hit .236 with a .324 on-base percentage.
Obviously, the Red Sox did not acquire Leon for his offense. His defense is outstanding. He has thrown out 6 of 15 would-be base stealers in the major leagues. His thrown out percentage over a much larger sample in the minors is not that much worse as it stands at an incredible 45%.
Competition for Sandy Leon will be thin. He likely has an inside track to the back-up catcher spot because he was just added to the 40-man roster and is out of minor league options. The other possibilities are Humberto Quintero and Blake Swihart. Quintero is not on the 40-man roster and the Red Sox view Blake Swihart as still developing, so it is probable he will see more time in the minors.