On Monday morning, before the Washington Nationals took the field in Jupiter, Florida against the St. Louis Cardinals, general manager Mike Rizzo decided to make a small trade to clear a roster space for some depth considering all the injuries the Nats have had in camp. According to James Wagner of the Washington Post and Alex Speier of the Boston Globe, the team traded catcher Sandy Leon to the Boston Red Sox for cash:
Washington should not have expected to get much back in return for the 26-year old catcher, who was out of options. At least the organization was able to get money back in this deal. Plus, they traded him to a team who needs the catcher depth in their organization. This spring, Leon played in 13 games for the Nationals. He hit .286 with no home runs and three RBI’s. Leon spent most of his time in the minor leagues, but did play 34 combined major league games over the last three seasons. During that time, he hit .189 with one home run and five RBI’s.
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Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez has an elbow injury and is going to meet with Dr. James Andrews on Wednesday. If this injury does require Vazquez to miss a significant amount of time, Boston does have Ryan Hanigan to start and Humberto Quintero as the likely backup. While top prospect Blake Swihart is on the roster, it is not expected that Swihart would break Fort Myers with the team for next Monday’s opener against the Phillies.
As for the Nationals, they are going to leave Viera with two catchers (Wilson Ramos and Jose Lobaton). Lobaton will be entering his second season in Washington and has hit one home run and driven in seven runs in 13 games this sping. As for Ramos, the Nats starting catcher is hitting .342 with one home run and six RBI’s in 14 games and is coming off a 3-for-3 game against Miami yesterday. This is the second trade that the Nationals have made with the Boston Red Sox this offseason.
Back in January, Washington acquired catcher Dan Butler from the Red Sox in exchange for reliever Daniel Rosenbaum. Butler is expected to begin the season in triple-A Syracuse. With Leon off the roster, Washington can use the spot to add a bullpen arm to the roster with Casey Janssen’s latest shoulder injury. They have two open spots on the 40-man roster after the release of Jeff Kobernus earlier this month.