The Guardians announced that catcher Sandy Leon has signed a minor league deal. The veteran backstop will report to Triple-A Columbus.
This is Leon’s fourth separate stint with the organization, as Cleveland first acquired him from the Red Sox in a trade in December 2019. He returned to the Guardians on a minors deal in the 2021-22 offseason but opted out at the end of Spring Training, and soon afterwards joined the Reds on another minor league contract. Cincinnati then traded Leon back across Ohio to the Guards last June, before the Guardians dealt Leon again to the Twins at the trade deadline.
The transactional carousel continued for Leon this past offseason when he joined the Rangers on a minor league contract. Leon appeared in 21 games for Texas (who selected his contract when Mitch Garver went on the injured list) before being designated for assignment. Leon did accept his subsequent outright assignment to Triple-A, but then asked to be released 10 days ago, with the Rangers accommodating the request.
The 34-year-old defensive specialist will now seemingly take up a depth role for the Guardians, as Bo Naylor has now taken over the team’s regular starting catcher. Cleveland has Cam Gallagher in a traditional backup role and utilityman David Fry also capable of playing catcher in a pinch, but Leon might provide additional depth since Mike Zunino was released. If nothing else, Leon gives the Guardians a familiar face at Triple-A, but it wouldn’t be surprising if Leon found himself on the move again if a clearer chance at playing time didn’t materialize with Cleveland.