Red Sox

Red Sox trade catcher Sandy Leon to Indians for minor league pitcher

Red Sox trade catcher Sandy Leon to Indians for minor league pitcher

Sandy Leon's unexpected run with the Boston Red Sox finally is over.

The Red Sox traded the veteran catcher to the Cleveland Indians on Monday for minor league right-hander Adenys Bautista, the team announced.

The trade is Chaim Bloom's second move since taking over as Boston's chief baseball officer in October and ends Leon's five-year tenure with the Sox.

The Red Sox weren't expecting much from Leon when they acquired him from the Washington Nationals for cash considerations in 2015.

The Venezuela native had a stellar 2016 campaign, though, batting .310 with an .845 OPS in 78 games while splitting time with Christian Vazquez behind the dish.

Leon became a trusted battery mate for Chris Sale, Rick Porcello and other Red Sox starters and played a key role in Boston's 2018 run to the World Series.

The 30-year-old played a total of 358 games for the Red Sox, batting .223 with 24 home runs and 118 RBIs over 1,074 plate appearances.

Leon's departure leaves Vazquez as the only returning catcher on the Red Sox' depth chart, as the team traded Blake Swihart midway through the 2019 season.

The 21-year-old Bautista joined the Indians in 2018 out of the Dominican Republic and joined Cleveland's Arizona League club last July after starting out on the organization's Dominican Summer League team.

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Pros (prospects!) and cons (Wil Myers?) of potential Mookie Betts trade to Padres

Pros (prospects!) and cons (Wil Myers?) of potential Mookie Betts trade to Padres

With multiple reports revealing that the Padres and Red Sox have discussed a Mookie Betts trade, here are some thoughts on what it all means ...

MONEY MATTERS

The money doesn't really work for me. In swapping Betts for outfielder/first baseman Wil Myers, the Red Sox would save $13 million in 2020, which gets them roughly two-thirds of the way towards their goal of dropping below the $208 million luxury tax threshold. Maybe San Diego kicks in some cash to increase that number.

Boston would then be assuming the final three years and $68.5 million remaining on Myers' contract (including a $1 million buyout in 2023), though for luxury tax purposes, he'd only count for just under $14 million annually.

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If the Red Sox are intent on slashing $21 million in payroll, jettisoning Betts and still coming up well short of that goal feels suboptimal.

Put another way: if the Red Sox carry Betts into the season and then trade him at the deadline, they'd save about $9 million. Is that $4 million difference worth four months of Betts to see if the Red Sox can contend?

From this view, that's a yes.

L.A. STORY

I'd still rather move David Price and the $32 million he's owed in 2020 to find the savings the Red Sox need, and that's why the Dodgers remain their most logical trade partners.

L.A. has the need for the five-tool outfielder after two World Series losses and one shocking NLDS ouster, it has the financial and prospect resources to acquire both Betts and Price, and it could actually use another starter, to boot.

Add Andrew Friedman's familiarity with Price from their Tampa days, and these Padres discussions feel more like a way to goose the Dodgers to the table rather than watch a star player join a division rival.

WHERE THERE'S A WIL ...

Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom knows Myers well from Tampa, where the slugger was one of the centerpieces of the 2012 trade that sent James Shields and Wade Davis to Kansas City.

Myers won the AL Rookie of the Year Award in 2013 in what was a remarkably weak class — former Red Sox infielder Jose Iglesias finished second — and made an All-Star team in 2016 with the Padres, but has trended noticeably downward since. Injuries limited him to 83 games in 2018, and last year he hit only .239 with 18 homers while striking out 168 times.

If the Red Sox are going to take Myers, they absolutely need the Padres to pick up some of his salary, because there's a real possibility he has reached the JAG portion of his career.

BUYER BEWARE

Granted, this little bit of egregiousness happened on Dave Dombrowski's watch, but how quickly the Red Sox forget the pitfalls of dealing with A.J. Preller.

The Padres GM was suspended by MLB for withholding medical information that would've revealed more extensive damage to the elbow of left-hander Drew Pomeranz before the Red Sox acquired him in 2016.

The Red Sox surrendered their top pitching prospect, right-hander Anderson Espinoza, and by the time San Diego's malfeasance was revealed, the Red Sox decided it was too late to undo the deal.

Espinoza has since needed a pair of Tommy John surgeries, leaving his career very much in doubt, but the Red Sox shouldn't forget how badly Preller burned them.

FARM FRESH

If there's one plus to a potential San Diego deal, it's that the Red Sox would be choosing players from one of baseball's most loaded farm systems, as we laid out here.

A couple of names to watch: imposing Cuban right-hander Michel Baez, a 6-foot-8 behemoth who is a potential future closer, and catcher Luis Campusano, who is considered one of the best young backstops in the minors.

MLB Rumors: What Padres could give Red Sox in Mookie Betts trade

MLB Rumors: What Padres could give Red Sox in Mookie Betts trade

The Boston Red Sox and San Diego Padres reportedly have opened discussions on a Mookie Betts trade.

But what would that trade entail?

The Boston Globe's Alex Speier offered some insight Friday morning, reporting that current talks involve San Diego sending outfielder Wil Myers "as well as both prospects and young controllable major league pieces" to the Red Sox.

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Speier also added this, via a source:

San Diego expressed willingness to clear the bar set by the trade of Paul Goldschmidt from the Diamondbacks to the Cardinals last winter, at a time when Goldschmidt had one remaining year of team control before he reached free agency.

Arizona's haul in that Dec. 2018 trade included starting pitcher Luke Weaver, major-league catcher Carson Kelly, infield prospect Andy Young and St. Louis' Round B competitive balance pick in the 2019 MLB Draft.

The Padres, with the second-youngest roster in baseball as of 2019 and one of the game's strongest farm systems, have both controllable young MLB players and prospects to entice the Red Sox in a Betts deal.

Among the former group, Speier lists 23-year-old outfielder Trent Grisham or 26-year-old shortstop/pitcher Jake Cronenworth as potential targets for Boston, as well as three young pitchers: right-handed starter Cal Quantrill, left-handed starter Joey Lucchesi and righty reliever Michel Baez.

Lucchesi is the most accomplished player of that bunch with 56 starts (18-19 record; 4.14 ERA) over two big-league seasons, but all are 26 years old or younger and are on team-friendly deals.

As for prospects, San Diego likely won't deal its top four prospects -- pitcher Mackenzie Gore, pitcher Luis Patino, outfielder Taylor Trammell and shortstop C.J. Abrams -- but the Padres have two more prospects on Baseball America's Top 100 list whom Boston may covet in catcher Luis Campusano and pitcher Adrian Morejon.

To land Betts, it appears San Diego would need to send Myers (who's owed $61 million on the final three years of his contract), at least one major league-level player and at least one prospect to the Red Sox, potentially adding a draft pick as a sweetener.

That's a lot of moving parts, and if Chaim Bloom and Padres general manager A.J. Preller can't make them fit, then this deal could fall through quickly.