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Indians acquire veteran catcher Sandy León from Red Sox

Boston Red Sox's Sandy Leon watches his ball after hitting against the Cleveland Indians in the fourth inning of an August game in Cleveland. 

CLEVELAND — The Indians acquired veteran catcher Sandy León in a trade from the Red Sox.

Cleveland sent minor league right-hander Adenys Bautista to Boston on Monday for the 30-year-old León, who has split his eight-year major league career between Boston and Washington. León batted just .192 last season in 65 games for the Red Sox, but he’s been ranked among the AL’s best defensive catchers.

León is eligible for salary arbitration and is expected to earn more than $2.5 million, and Boston would have had to offer a contract by the 8 p.m. Monday deadline.

To make room on their roster, the Indians designated right-hander James Hoyt for assignment.

The club also chose not to tender a 2020 contract for catcher Kevin Plawecki, who last season served as Roberto Pérez’s primary backup — a role that could now go to Léon.

Culberson leaving

ATLANTA — The Braves did not offer a 2020 contract to Charlie Culberson on Monday, making the popular utility player a free agent.

Atlanta also did not offer contracts to catcher John Ryan Murphy and outfielder Rafael Ortega.

The 30-year-old Culberson played two years with Atlanta. His 2019 season ended on Sept. 14 after he was hit by a pitch from Washington’s Fernando Rodney. Culberson sustained multiple facial fractures and missed the Braves’ NL Division Series loss to St. Louis.

O’s cut payroll

BALTIMORE — The rebuilding Baltimore Orioles further slashed their slim salary payroll by trading infielder Jonathan Villar to Miami on Monday for minor league pitcher Easton Lucas.

Villar played in all 162 games this year and led the Orioles with 176 hits, five triples and 40 stolen bases.

“He was a tremendously exciting player for us, a joy to have,” general manager Mike Elias said Monday night. “It was hard to let him go, but we’ve got to keep an eye on our strategic objectives, which is prioritize the future right now.”

McCann signs

CHICAGO — All-Star catcher James McCann agreed to a $5.4 million, one-year contract with the Chicago White Sox on Monday, more than doubling his salary.

The 29-year-old McCann was eligible for arbitration.

Chicago declined to offer 2020 contracts to Gold Glove second baseman Yolmer Sánchez and relievers Ryan Burr and Caleb Frare, making the trio free agents. Right-hander Thyago Vieira was released to pursue an opportunity to play in Japan.

No offer for Pillar

SAN FRANCISCO — The Giants allowed Kevin Pillar to become a free agent by failing to offer the outfielder a 2020 contract.

Acquired from Toronto on April 2, Pillar hit .264 for San Francisco with 21 homers and 87 RBIs. He made $5.8 million and likely would have received a salary of around $10 million had the Giants offered a contract, which would have made him eligible for arbitration.

Treinen free to go

OAKLAND, Calif. — The Oakland Athletics did not tender a contract to former closer Blake Treinen on Monday, letting the 2018 All-Star become a free agent.

The right-handed Treinen posted a 0.78 ERA in 2018, but that number ballooned to 4.91 in 2019. He was replaced by Liam Hendriks in the closer role as the low-budget A’s earned the AL’s top wild card.

Treinen was expected to command roughly $7.5 million in arbitration.

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