Okay, so we all know what happened in the football world yesterday. Rob Gronkowski announced his retirement. While everyone was grieving about that, nobody was talking about how the Red Sox placed catcher Sandy Leon on waivers.
Source: The Red Sox have placed catcher Sandy Leon on waivers. They're still carrying three catchers, wanted to break with two.
— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) March 24, 2019
Some people might be thrilled to see him gone. Others might shed a tear or two considering how valuable he was to the Red Sox 2018 championship run. Here are a few pros and cons about Sandy Leon being put on waivers.
Pro: His Hitting Was Below Average
For as good as Sandy Leon was behind the plate, he struggled immensely hitting. In his two seasons with Boston, Leon hit .201 with a .577 OPS. The Red Sox had a very solid lineup last season. But with Leon in the fold, it was almost like he was an automatic out. He also had a bad tendency of swinging at off-speed in the dirt when behind in the count.
Con: The Pitchers Loved Him
All of the Red Sox pitched would vouch of how great Sandy Leon was to work with on a day to day basis.
“No disrespect to any other catcher that I’ve thrown to, but Sandy Leon is the best catcher I’ve ever thrown to,” — Rick Porcello https://t.co/XwPfsadwQ7
— Jason Mastrodonato (@JMastrodonato) March 21, 2019
Everyone went NUTS about how good of a defensive catcher he was and how good of a game he called. The pitchers clearly had a trust with him and their performances showed that. Sandy Leon will be missed in that regard.
Pro: This Gives Christian Vazquez and Blake Swihart More Opportunity
Sandy Leon gone means the Red Sox will go with Christian Vazquez and Blake Swihart to start the season. Vazquez has always been an above average catcher with occasional power at the plate.
I'll never forget that time when Christian Vazquez hit a damn near 500-foot shot at Yankee Stadium, which ended up being the game-winning run in the game that ended the Yankees' season. What a majestic blast. pic.twitter.com/D5qGKDWTxz
— Jared Carrabis (@Jared_Carrabis) December 29, 2018
It is time for Vazquez to take control of the staff. He needs to have the same level of trust with the pitchers that Leon showed. As for Blake Swihart, he was the forgotten about player in the 2018 playoffs. Don’t forget, this guy was a first round draft pick! He had a big spring and is ready to help the Red So consistently in the lineup.
After the spring that Blake Swihart’s had, this isn’t surprising at all.
— Nick Quaglia (@NickQuag) March 24, 2019
Con: Leon Was A Veteran Presence
The veteran presence aspect cannot be overlooked. Sandy Leon was a great veteran presence in the clubhouse. He challenged his pitchers when they weren’t performing. You never heard him being in trouble. That is the type of leader you need to have in any clubhouse or locker room.
It does stink to see Sandy leave. He did a lot of good for the Red Sox. But, it is time for Swihart and Vazquez to take the reigns of this pitching staff. The season starts this week and it is time to focus on the 2019 Boston Red Sox.
-Alan Nahigian (BigAl2793)