The decision to call up Sandy Leon was not one met without controversy.
On Tuesday, the Boston Red Sox called up the catcher, but in turn designated Blake Swihart for assignment. That means over the next seven days Swihart either will be claimed or traded — with the off chance existing that no one picks him up and he gets outrighted to the minors (but that’s highly unlikely).
There’s certainly plenty of logic in the move. Leon is one of the best defensive catchers in the big leagues, and he’s a whiz at calling games. And with the Red Sox’s starting pitching staff struggling mightily, it makes sense to give Leon a look.
Prior to Boston’s game against the New York Yankees, Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski explained why he elected to make the move.
“We like Sandy,” Dombrowski said, via MassLive. “We know what his strengths are. Handling the pitching staff is one of them. He brings a lot of intangibles to the club in the way he handles the staff in that regard. It’s a decision we decided to make at this point. I’m not saying it’s the sole reason we’ve struggled, but it’ll help us.
“As we got here at this point, there’s only one move you can make and it was with Swihart,” Dombrowski said. “We wanted to bring Leon up to handle our pitching staff. He’s really good at it.”
Manager Alex Cora is more than comfortable with the move.
“That’s a guy, he has been around here,” Cora said. “He has been consistent in what he does. He has helped everybody. Not only the pitching staff. It’s something we’ve thought about.”
In moving on from Swihart, a first-round pick in 2011, the Red Sox are committing themselves to Leon and Christian Vazquez at catcher. While it may have been a challenging move to make, it sounds like one the Red Sox are at peace with.
Thumbnail photo via Raj Mehta/USA TODAY Sports Images