June 12, 2024

The Braves have recently signed catcher Sandy Leon and right-hander Jackson Stephens to minor league contracts, according to their MLB.com bio pages. Stephens returns to the organization after opting for free agency earlier in the week.

Rangers release Sandy Leon - Lone Star Ball

Leon’s signing appears to be a depth move for the Braves, especially with Sean Murphy sidelined on the 10-day injured list due to an oblique injury. Since the timetable for Murphy’s return is uncertain, adding Leon provides additional options for Triple-A Gwinnett. Currently, Travis d’Arnaud and Chadwick Tromp handle catching duties at the major league level, while Sebastian Rivero was the only experienced catcher on the Gwinnett roster.

At 35 years old, Leon brings 12 seasons of Major League experience to the Braves, having played for six different teams. Despite a modest .208/.276/.311 career slash line over 1729 plate appearances, Leon’s defensive skills and game-calling abilities have kept him in demand as a part-time or backup catcher. He won a World Series ring with the 2018 Red Sox and appeared in 21 games for the Rangers last season.

Stephens, on the other hand, has been maneuvering on and off 40-man rosters since 2019. He exercised his right to reject outright assignments to free agency, and his latest deal with the Braves is not yet confirmed to be a split contract. Over his career, Stephens has posted a 4.83 ERA in 63 1/3 innings with the Reds from 2017-2018, followed by stints in the minors and the Mexican League. Since joining the Braves, he has accumulated a 3.56 ERA with a 20.2% strikeout rate and a 9.8% walk rate in 65 2/3 innings since 2022.

Former World Series-winning catcher signs with Braves

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