With the deadline to tender 2020 contracts approaching, the Red Sox decided to at least get something back for veteran catcher Sandy Leon.
Leon, 30, was almost certainly a non-tender candidate who would have become a free agent at the Monday deadline. Instead, the Sox traded him to the Cleveland Indians for minor league righthanded pitcher Adenys Bautista.
The Sox’ return is low, but it’s better than nothing.
The 21-year-old Bautista has a career 5.98 ERA in 43⅔ innings between the Dominican Summer League and Arizona League. He walked 31 batters in that span.
The move to trade Leon, who hit just .192 in 2019, means the Sox will go in a different direction at backup catcher.
Christian Vazquez stepped into the role as the everyday catcher last season and had a breakout year, hitting .276 with 23 homers and 26 doubles.
But Leon was known for his work with some of the veteran pitchers, namely Chris Sale and Rick Porcello.
His leadership behind the plate and pitch-calling played a factor in the Red Sox’ World Series run in 2018. He also played a role in the development of reliever Darwinzon Hernandez during spring training in 2019, giving Hernandez a better understanding of how to attack hitters.
But with the emergence of Vazquez last season in addition to Leon’s offensive struggles, his role diminished down the stretch.
Leon was acquired by the Sox in 2015 from the Washington Nationals for cash considerations. He hit .223 with 24 homers in his five seasons with Boston.
Pitcher Trevor Kelley was claimed off waivers by the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday.
Kelley appeared in 10 games for the Sox in 2019, notching a 8.64 ERA in 8⅓ innings.
The 26-year-old righthander made his major-league debut on July 2.