Royals release former World Series-winning catcher

The Royals announced on Saturday that catcher Sandy Leon had requested and been granted his release. Leon agreed to a minor league contract with the team in January.

Leon, 35, made his big league debut with the Nationals in 2012 and has played in every major league season since, thanks to his excellent reputation as a glove-first catcher. 

Those numerous possibilities have occurred despite a career.In eleven of his twelve seasons in the majors, he had a 208/.276/.311 batting line with a wRC+ that was below average. 

 Leon has garnered excellent marks for his work behind the plate from sites such as FanGraphs, Statcast, and Baseball Prospectus throughout his career, with the former praising him particularly for pitch framing during his time with the Red Sox from 2015 to 2019.

The Royals appear to have brought Leon in as backup to the club's existing catching duo of Salvador Perez and Freddy Fermin, allowing them to more comfortably transfer rookie MJ Melendez to the outfield full-time. 

 Since then, Kansas City has signed Austin Nola to a big league split-contract that will allow him to serve as the club's third catcher entering the 2024 season. 

Between that performance and the fact that Leon is largely blocked at the big-league level in Kansas City, it's not necessarily a surprise that the parties are parting.

With Opening Day approaching, Leon will return to free agency in quest of a major league contract or, more likely, a more appealing minor league deal that provides him with a clearer road back to the majors.

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