Red Sox trade Sandy León to the Indians

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We just talked about the non-tender deadline and, as part of that, we talked about how teams might trade non-tender candidates before tonight’s deadline in order to make some other team pay him in arbitration. Welp, the Red Sox just did that with catcher Sandy León.

León was dealt to the Indians for righty Adenys Bautista, who played in the rookie-level Dominican Summer League in 2019.

León is a glove first — very glove first — catcher who was projected to make north of $2 million in 2020. While his defense is valuable, he doesn’t have any business as a team’s starting catcher, and the suddenly-frugal Red Sox are looking to cut any payroll they can spare. The thinking here is, obviously, that they can pay some league minimum guy to be Christian Vázquez’s backup, though they’ll likely take a defensive hit to do so.

For Cleveland Léon will backup Roberto Pérez. In their case, he’s more or less the same kind of offensive catcher as their previous backup, Kevin Plawecki.

Phillies’ Bryce Harper to miss start of season after elbow surgery

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PHILADELPHIA – Phillies slugger Bryce Harper will miss the start of the 2023 season after he had reconstructive right elbow surgery.

The operation was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles.

Harper is expected to return to Philadelphia’s lineup as the designated hitter by the All-Star break. He could be back in right field by the end of the season, according to the team.

The 30-year-old Harper suffered a small ulnar collateral ligament tear in his elbow in April. He last played right field at Miami on April 16. He had a platelet-rich plasma injection in May and shifted to designated hitter.

Harper met Nov. 14 with ElAttrache, who determined the tear did not heal on its own, necessitating surgery.

Even with the elbow injury, Harper led the Phillies to their first World Series since 2009, where they lost in six games to Houston. He hit .349 with six homers and 13 RBIs in 17 postseason games.

In late June, Harper suffered a broken thumb when he was hit by a pitch and was sidelined for two months. The two-time NL MVP still hit .286 with 18 homers and 65 RBIs for the season.

Harper left Washington and signed a 13-year, $330 million contract with the Phillies in 2019. A seven-time All-Star, Harper has 285 career home runs.

With Harper out, the Phillies could use Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber at designated hitter. J.T. Realmuto also could serve as the DH when he needs a break from his catching duties.