Blake Swihart’s career path has been anything but conventional. The former first-round pick was considered one of the game’s elite prospects prior to the 2015 season and was heralded as a potential cornerstone behind the dish before injuries, questions about his defense and the emergence of Christian Vazquez changed his role. Swihart took to the outfield in 2016 with the hope that he’d be able to improve his defense there on the fly while keeping his bat in the lineup, but an ankle injury cost him most of the season. By the time he returned, Andrew Benintendi was entrenched as Boston’s everyday left fielder.
Swihart is now a man without a real role on a Red Sox team that is effectively employing a 24-man roster. Vazquez and Sandy Leon continue to handle the catching, while Benintendi, Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley and J.D. Martinez are all more frequently used in the outfield. Swihart has appeared in only 15 games for the Sox this season and totaled 32 plate appearances. His only four starts have been at DH. He’s played a grand total of 24 innings in the field — 19 in the outfield, four at first base and one behind the plate. The Red Sox have used Swihart about as often as the rebuilding Tigers have used Victor Reyes — a 23-year-old Rule 5 outfielder they’re trying to hold onto for the entire season despite the fact that he’s not quite MLB ready.
Suffice it to say, no one should have been surprised to learn this morning that Swihart’s agent, Brodie Scoffield of the Legacy Agency, asked the Red Sox to trade his client. The current setup is a poor one for team and player. Boston can’t send Swihart to Triple-A for regular at-bats because he is out of minor league options and would surely be lost on waivers. He’s not going to provide virtually any value in such a limited role, though, and the Red Sox could probably make better use of that spot by giving it to a true fourth outfielder, a utility infielder capable of handling several positions, or a reliever with options remaining to create some additional flexibility in the ’pen.
Assuming president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski eventually honors the request and gauges interest in Swihart, there’ll probably be no shortage of clubs interested in taking a shot on the once-vaunted prospect. Some speculative fits for the switch-hitting 26-year-old…
- Nationals: It was a surprise that the Nats didn’t add any catching help this offseason, as Matt Wieters turned in a terrible first year in D.C. and the organization had limited options beyond him. Miguel Montero signed a minor league deal but was quickly jettisoned, and the Nats now have Pedro Severino and Spencer Kieboom behind the plate with Wieters on the disabled list. Swihart is hardly a definitive upgrade, as he’s yet to prove himself over an extended period in the Majors, but he has more upside than their internal options.
- Twins: Minnesota found out on Wednesday that Jason Castro will miss the remainder of the season after surgeons discovered more damage than expected when operating on his right knee. Rookie Mitch Garver and journeyman Bobby Wilson now top the team’s depth chart behind the plate, so perhaps the Twins would be open to flipping some pitching depth for a chance at Swihart.
- Brewers: Milwaukee catchers are hitting a combined .197/.274/.333 on the season, as neither Manny Pina nor Jett Bandy has been performing well. Veteran Stephen Vogt’s season is over due to shoulder surgery, leaving Jacob Nottingham and former prospect Christian Bethancourt as the only upper-level alternatives currently within the organization. Swihart won’t see much, if any playing time in a crowded Milwaukee outfield, but there should be at-bats up for grabs at catcher.
- Mets: Catching is an obvious area of need for the Mets, though they’ve already made one move in the past week, acquiring Devin Mesoraco from the Reds. Given that Kevin Plawecki is nearing a return from a broken hand, it doesn’t seem likely that the Mets would swing a second trade in the near future. But if Swihart is still in Boston as the All-Star break approaches and the Plawecki/Mesoraco tandem is struggling, perhaps the Mets would make another change.
- Athletics: Jonathan Lucroy is only on a one-year deal with the A’s, and Bruce Maxwell’s lack of production was already enough to make him a questionable long-term option before his highly publicized off-field issues. Oakland has room in the outfield corners as well and certainly has never had an aversion to rotating players through multiple positions.
- Rangers: Robinson Chirinos is signed affordably through 2019, and the Rangers do have a fair bit of catching talent in the pipeline, though most of those prospects are still several years away from the Majors. Isiah Kiner-Falefa has done some catching in the minors but has only caught three games this season and has been working primarily as an infielder. There’s not much room in the outfield corners once Willie Calhoun arrives for good, and the Rangers do have former Phillies backstop Cameron Rupp in Triple-A. Still, there’s more playing time available for Swihart in Arlington than there is in Boston.
- White Sox: Welington Castillo is the primary catcher for manager Rick Renteria, and that won’t change after he signed a two-year, $15MM contract in the offseason. But Swihart could easily displace Omar Narvaez as the backup and see some occasional outfield time as well.
- Padres: No one questions Austin Hedges’ defensive prowess, but he’s yet to prove that he can get on base at the highest level. Hedges mashed 18 homers last season but did so with a .262 OBP that ranked dead last in the National League (min. 400 PA). San Diego has a stacked farm system but is still light on catching talent in the upper minors. The Padres don’t really have much to offer in the way of playing time in the outfield or at first base, so they’d need to believe that Swihart can make an impact behind the dish.
- Marlins: J.T. Realmuto is among the game’s best catchers, but he’s also one of the most easily identifiable trade candidates in Major League Baseball as well. The Marlins will get offers on Realmuto this summer, and while they won’t simply take the best one that’s presented with Realmuto controlled through 2020, there’s still a chance that he moves. If they hang onto him, the rumor carousel will fire up again this winter. There’s no real catching help on the horizon beyond Realmuto, and the Marlins are the exact type of rebuilding club that can afford to give Swihart a lengthy look behind the plate.
- Diamondbacks: Arizona GM Mike Hazen and assistant GMs Amiel Sawdaye and Jared Porter all have Red Sox roots, and D-backs catchers haven’t hit whatsoever in 2018. The Diamondbacks added Alex Avila on an affordable two-year deal in the offseason, but that’s yet to pay dividends. Defensive specialist Jeff Mathis isn’t hitting, either, and John Ryan Murphy has a .259 OBP. The Diamondbacks have carried three catchers in each of the past two seasons, and the Hazen-led front office took a similar roll of the dice on another out-of-options former Boston first-rounder, Deven Marrero, late in Spring Training.
Other clubs could and almost certainly will inquire, as well, of course. It stands to reason that while some organizations may not be sold on Swihart as a catcher, they’d be perfectly content to give him a tryout in left field and/or at first base. Some clubs are probably keen on simply shuffling him around at all three positions. In that sense, one could make an argument for Swihart fitting on just about any club in the league, given that he’s likely to have a low cost of acquisition and comes with a fair bit of upside even if his prospect star has undeniably dimmed.
Of course, if the goal of this exercise is to find an organization in need of an upgrade behind the plate, where he brings the most potential value, it’s worth stressing that perhaps no club in baseball could use a boost more than Swihart’s current team. Vazquez and Leon are batting a combined .174/.224/.219, but the Red Sox have still not seen fit to give Swihart more than that one lone inning behind the dish.
Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston recently chatted with Red Sox catching coordinator Chad Epperson about the work Swihart is putting into catching drills in taking a lengthier look at Swihart’s unusual role (or lack thereof) with the team. Within, pitching coach Dana LeVangie acknowledged the dilemma facing the Red Sox: in order for Swihart to improve, the biggest thing he needs is consistent reps behind the plate. Those simply aren’t available in Boston right now, despite the struggles of the team’s top two catchers.
The Sox, of course, signed Vazquez to a $13.55MM extension this offseason due in no small part to his defensive talents. It’s somewhat more puzzling that there doesn’t appear to be any thought to displacing Leon, however, as he’s hit just .217/.280/.336 in 351 plate appearances dating back to last season.
That the Sox aren’t willing to displace either struggling bat to give Swihart a more legitimate look behind the plate certainly seems like a statement on how they view his current defense. But it still seems likely that another club would be happy to acquire his bat at a discount rate in hopes that increased reps will help him to hone his craft. And for the Sox, who figure to spend the season vying for the AL East crown with the Yankees, having a 25th man on the roster whom they could actually use from time to time certainly seems like an endeavor worth pursuing sooner rather than later.
you can can’t out the athletics already honestly. Sean Murphy is almost major league ready, and Maxwell is capable of a back up role.
Yeah I took Murphy into consideration. But I don’t think that Maxwell is necessarily a long-term piece there, and it’s easy to see the A’s carrying Swihart as a third catcher who also spends time in left field, at first base and at designated hitter.
No room on A’s team for Swihart because Melvin always goes with a deep bullpen. The only position is back up catcher if they get rid of Maxwell. There is no outfield at bats available on the team and Olson is the everyday 1B and Davis the DH.
I could see that as a possibly, because they wouldn’t have to give up much for a quality back up. He’s definitely a better back up than Maxwell.
Beau Taylor is better at baseball than Blake Swihart. Bruce Maxwell is probably better than him too.
The A’s simply have no open spots in OF, 1B or DH either, what are you talking about “have room in the corners” they arent moving Piscotty, Canha, Joyce, Fowler, Powell or Pinder- they’re STACKED with OF and Khrush is everyday DH. Strike them from the list, Steve.
It would be nice if the sox could find a way to trade swihart and one other prospect or pick for an elite reliever.
I’m sure that their fans would think it’d be nice for the Marlins to win a World Series but that isn’t happening
Hey 34–you’ve got a really good idea. Unfortunately there are no dumb GM’s that are desperate enough for Swihart who at best could be a mediocre catcher to trade their elite reliever.
Plus do you understand that the Red Sox minor leagues roster is bare?
With the same descriptive as perhaps you will wish for a new GM because it would be nice for someone to rebuild the farm.
Give the team time to rebuild. They traded from excess to win now. Their international money replenishes shortly. No one would be talking about their weak system if they hadn’t brought up six every day starters in the last five years. Most of which came up early. I don’t want to talk about injuries because that’s every team. JBJ came up after 2013 but Betts, Bettintendi and Devers came up before originally thought of and Bogaerts too (21 year old in 2013). Let’s see what the team does going forward.
Never comment again, please.
It would be nice if I got all the powerball numbers right
Swihart/Prospect(s) to Marlins for Realmuto/and maybe a/some high priced reliever(s)
Forgot to add the Sox throwing in one of Leon or Vasquez plus money if needed
Red Sox don’t have the prospect capital to acquire a talent like Realmuto.
That’s why I mentioned the Sox taking on high priced relievers for salary relief for the Fish, it would lessen the prospect return. I’m not saying it’s a great trade the Marlins would jump on, but it’s the only way it would work if the Sox tried to get Realmuto from them.
Marlins aren’t going to package one of the best catchers with a high priced reliever.
Agreed but I also believe Realmuto is overrated for the expected cost. Another factor is I believe the team may be close to the financial ceiling at which severe penalties start to kick in.
The Red Sox would have to take Chen if you are expecting a salary dump contract in a Realmuto trade. Swihart/Groome and someone like Mata for Realmuto/Chen might get Jeter interested. Leon would be nothing more than a throw in who would have a decent chance of getting designated on the Marlins who are playing the kids and looking for that #1 pick next year. Without Chen I seriously doubt the Marlins would attach any other salary to their best remaining trade chip in Realmuto.
Lmao oh gee good thing you added Leon or Vasquez to the equation. Mike Hill will now laugh a little less before hanging up he phone
It was added because the Sox wouldn’t continue to carry three catchers if they got Realmuto. Plus it would give the Fish a needed established major league catcher to pair with the unproven Swihart.
You don’t lessen a trade for a Realmulto period. Marlins hit their payroll goal. Tazawa and Ziegler which you are referring to are off the books at the end of the year. There’s zero chance.
They couldn’t get Realmuto, period. Especially with that sorry package. Swihart is awful and Leon/Vasquez don’t come close to making that deal worth considering. Not to mention the Sox have no minor league system.
I would add Ball & Leon
Trey Ball is a bust; he has no value anymore. Unless you’re being sarcastic, in which case you did a good job.
That prospect would have to be something significant for them to add Realmuto. At this point, Swihart has minimal trade value by himself.
Honestly, I don’t know if they could acquire Realmuto. Chavez and Grooms have both had their value reduced and they don’t really have any other blue chip prospects
I don’t understand why we’re even debating this….lots of clubs with much more prospect upside than what the BoSox have to offer. Enough already….Swihart is yesterday as far as prime value and the Sox cubbard of prospects is bare!
I like how you think you can trade your garbage for a top tier catcher.
Probably more likely a salary dump, like Swihart for Ziegler or Tazawa, both fomer Sox. The biggest issue is whether or not Boston wants to take on the salary. Realmuto would cost a haul that the Sox do not have.
Twins might be the most logical destination now with the Castro injury
The Mariners make some sense with Cano now out until August. Gordon will move to 2B opening up quite a few ABs for a player like Swihart who could shift between the OF and Catcher on Zunino’s days off.
God why are you baiting these delusional Sox fans twice in one day.
Houston has the system to make a deal. With McCann aging and not much mlb ready this would be a good deal.
How about this: A) Swihart to HOU for prospect(s). I’m sure this can get done as Boston doesn’t have much leverage. B) McCann to ATL. Maybe a Rio Ruiz-McCann trade. Rio back where he was drafted. McCann goes home to Georgia. C) ATL flips Tyler Flowers to MIN for a single-A or double-A decent prospect – ideally one who is a Catcher to possibly jump onboard to the big show in ’19 or ’20.
Why would Houston want to ship out McCann at this point, and let’s not dote on his age……way to complicated a trade proposal….how long did it take you to think this one up!
About two minutes. Why? Because he is a 34 year old catcher .. baseball is a young man’s sport .. Sport. His contract is up this year I believe and he has commented that he wants to finish out with the Braves – where he started career. He is from Georgia. Called “selling high”. Astros have a kid by name of Stubbs in AAA who is a very good defender. With that much fire power on the offensive side of the game HOU can put more emphasis on D side of the game and not miss much.
There would be no way that Houston would actually follow through on moving McCann during a season where they wish to repeat.
Maybe they let him go after the season so that he can finish out his career in Georgia (doubt that Atlanta would feel nostalgic about this) but this ain’t happening during the season.
To suggest that they would go with unproven players like Swihart or this kid Stubbs to handle a veteran pitching staff and try and provide the offense they get from McCann…just doesn’t make any sense.
The person first mentioning Houston I believe meant they had the prospects to trade for Realmuto.
None? Lol. You need to open up your eyes Sport. There is a big world out there. If the Braves were dumb enough to offer Acuna for McCann right now, which they wouldn’t obviously, do the Astros reject it? So there is a way. Right?
Off your high horse please. You arent that insightful.
Were you part of this? Take it elsewhere.
Is the delicate genious offended?
It’s not going to take any sort of quality system to acquire a 26yo out-of-options positionless player who posted a .539OPS in AAA last year.. The Red Sox will likely get back a salary dump or an aging minor leaguer, like a 26yo pitcher in AA or equivalent. The type of player most teams already have plenty of.
All those tats be slowing him down…..
Does he think he’s in the NFL?
Cardinals should look into a trade for Swihart. Better than Pena and Kelly behind the dish.
No he’s not, he’s horrible defensively.
Not even close ! Both of those catchers are better!
Twins White Sox Marlins
The White Sox do make a ton of sense. But the Red Sox probably won’t get back anything more exciting than Colton Turner.
ZiPS, Steamer and FanGraphs Depth Charts project Blake Swihart with rest-of-season wRC+ of 68, 58 and 63.
I question whether a market exists for a defensively challenged out-of-options catcher who at the season’s end will be eligible for the first of four trips through arbitration.
I’m amazed that a player with those credentials has generated so much coverage.
He is a former top prospect though. I agree, I don’t think he’ll ever be anything of great value in the bigs, but I do see why he’s getting so much coverage
What does arb mean to a player that hasn’t proved himself? Unless he has a Johnny Bench second half, he’ll take any contract offer that places him on a major league bench…
Arbitration means that despite weak performance Blake Swihart’s salary won’t go down from his current near-league minimum.
The real problem for Swihart is that Boston refuses to use him as a catcher. It seems that the pitchers just don’t want to pitch to him. This has to give a potential suitor pause if they are considering him a catcher. He has been mismanaged by Boston I have my doubts they will get much back for him as well. Christian is not as bad offensively as he has been this year unless you think he will continue at a .209 Babip the rest of the season. The Red Sox are not getting Realmuto and there is no reason to even dream about that just don’t have anywhere near the guys to trade for him. It will be interesting to see what if anything the Sox get for Swihart.
You guys are acting like this geek is Johnny Bench.
Sorry I stole your thunder…
Trade him to the Orioles for Mike Yaztremski and/or Mike Wright.
And then the O’s can convert him to 3B soon.
In the paragraph on the Marlins you mention Swihart where you presumably mean Realmuto. That or you mean the Red Sox and not the Marlins. Not sure but either way somethings wrong.
Sox fans need to decide if they want Acuna (ATL) or Vlad Jr. (TOR) for Swihart……and what else those teams would have to kick in…..
Haha. Best comment by far!
Why not add a team or two and shoot for both? Funny part is Realmuto is still overrated to me.
but seriously folks, I can see the D-Backs,,,,,,the connections are there, and swihart’s better than Murphy……for very little though……
Swihart only really had two above average seasons in the minors. Not sure why he had so much prospect hype to begin with, other than Sox fans thinking he was going to be the next Posey or Pudge.
Joe Mauer type. Thin, quick for a catcher who they believed had the bat quickness to be a special switchhitter.
Marlins and As make the most sense. The other teams on the list are way too high profile to afford terrible defense out of the catcher position, right now.
swihart is one of the most overrated “top prospects” in recent history. dude can’t stay in the majors, bat is meh, has little to no defensive value. i doubt they’d get much for him. you’d almost have to package him with someone else to get something decent in return.
Swihart for a bag of balls? Used balls.
I really can’t see any teams giving up more than a low level prospect for him, if that.
I don’t get y you guys are marketing him as a catcher he could also be a DH and a 4th outfielder maybe even a 1st basemen
except his bat really isnt that impressive
I still think they should have gave him another shot behind the plate
He was a SS and pitcher his junior year in HS with a 98mph fastball. Maybe they could turn him into a lesser version of Ohtani……..they have tried everything else. /s (<<< = sarcasm)
Pitches Love Velocity
I wonder if the Padres and Red Sox line up pretty well here.
Padres have a plethora of relievers who’ve been outstanding……Stammen and Yates come to mind as low cost assets with control – stammen another year and yates has 2 more arb years.
Im sure the padres would have interest in Swihart in a deal for Stammen or Yates, though he is by no means the headliner.
I agree, I could see Swihart being a throw-in with another prospect for one of the Padres relievers (except for Hand), In a rebuilding year, he could get plenty of playing time, especially if Hedges continues to struggle.
It’s Hand time again.
Pitches Love Velocity
Red Sox dont have the prospects to land hand.
They don’t have the prospects to acquire any significant player/players on anyone’s 40 man roster.
I would really like AJ making a move on him. I really like rostering a utility player capable of playing C, so that Green can be more aggressive subbing offense for defense (or the other way around) with Hedges and Lopez. There’s already an easy 25/40 man cut in AJ Ellis, so the only hurdle is the compensation. I’m sure the Red Sox would kick the tires on expanding the deal to include Hand, though I’m sure they’ll be rebuffed, making Yates or Stammen a more realistic target (though Maton might be the dark horse). I think BOS is going to have to chip in a prospect or two to fetch any of them though; Stammen is on a 2 year deal and has been about as good a middle reliever as you’ll find, while Yates has emerged as a quality (and pre-arb) setup arm. I doubt BOS would want Spang or Asuaje in return, but they are much closer in value to Swihart than anyone in the pen.
I‘d like to see Swihart get a legit shot with more AB’s. Who knows if he’ll make anything of it, but I think it’s worth a shot for a team lacking at catcher. Low risk move (assuming they don’t give up much)
The Padres are an option? That wasn’t a good choice. They have a pitching prospect pipeline coming through. There’s no chance they would ditch AJ Ellis for Blake Swihart. Just not happening. They’ll continue to rely on Ellis to help sort out the pitching as they come up to the minors.
They’re not even gonna give him 2 or 3 games behind the plate? If he produces it’s a win-win-win.
Swihart to the Dodgers for Pedro Baez – Swihart backs up Grandal and the Red Sox get a reliever who has worn out his welcome in LA
At this point, Miami is easily Swihart’s best option. Maybe he could actually have a legitimate chance to develop (what a novel idea). But anyone thinking the Sox are getting anything back besides a fringe minor leaguer or a throw in middle reliever are pretty delusional at this point.
I think White Sox are a better option than Miami only because of the DH, but by and large I think the main point is he needs to go to a team that isn’t worried about wins and losses and can just get him at bats to see if he can hit at the major league level, and worry about where he plays later.
As for what they get back- clearly not a prospect, but depending on how much salary the Red Sox are willing to take back I can see them getting a solid major leaguer.
If they package him with JBJ then you’d have a legit conversation but you’d be selling very low on JBJ at this point.
I agree Re. JBJ but after Betts grabbed his achilles last night, I said hold onto JBJ.
Show me exactly where Swihart has proved he’s even a MLB level talent. I’ll wait.
Boston media hype train fooling everyone again. Dude sucks at baseball and literally always has, he doesn’t even have any minor league numbers to back it up. But he’s a Boston guy so we get 8 trillion words written about him, when every single team has like 5 guys exactly like him. Every team has 1st round picks, but Bostons ones MUST be superstars!!! Sit down and shut up, Boston, you aren’t special and Swihart is AAAA. MOVE . ON.
Let the kid get an ACTUAL chance at decent playing time before you bash him. The handling of Swihart’s career to this point is the worst handling of a young player I’ve seen in quite some time.
Agree with you Bucket Swihart just hasn’t gotten a fair shake. First fact Swihart was rushed to the big leagues due to injuries and after an epically slow start more then held his own in the last few months of the season. He then was replaced less then two weeks into the season and seemed to be made the scapegoat for the pitchers poor start in 2016. He was then sent back down to work on his outfield defense and was called up to play outfield. We all know he was injured playing left field. Swihart then came back in 2017 but now he has lost a lot of crucial development time and seemed to be injured in 2017 most of the year as well. Now it is 2018 he seems healthy but no spot to play on Boston. He needs a chance somewhere else that will play him. Justin you may be right he could be a busy but we really don’t know yet he just hasn’t been given a fair chance and it’s not going to happen in Boston. See if you can get anything for him if your Boston if not DFA him and let him have a chance somewhere. It’s obvious that Boston does not believe in him let him go.
excuses excuses excuses….so sick of hearing them about this AAAA scrub who has never ONCE hit at any level
Before you make a stupid comment you should at least research a little. Swihart hit real well from A+ to AAA from 2012 to 2015.
Manny Pina has been on fire, raising his OPS over 100 points in the last week and is excellent defensively. Both guys at AAA, Bethancourt and Nottingham have been raking. I don’t see the Brewers with any interest here.
I thought for sure Swihart would be in an A’s jersey this AM–maybe it will be this PM.
Miami also seems a natural spot for one of Jeter’s many prospects, forget Realmuto.
Ziegler, salary relief , for Swi and either Barnes/Hembree/Poyner /Wright or Johnson,
My actual choice would be for the Sox to try Swihart behind the dish. He would be better offensively than Vaz and Leon. Maybe DD and Cora don’t want a change after spending the money on Vazquez.
Swihart is not needed by the A’s. They have no at bats for him. His catching is below par. If traded most likely somebody hides him in AAA and work on his catching skills. He will not bring back a prospect more likely some A ball pitcher.
Rockies seem like a fit, if Swihart can really play first. And they’re loaded with 4th OF/utility INF types they could send back.
The Cardinals could use him. Molina is aging and that groin injury might linger for the rest of the season. Kelly isn’t ready and Pena is garbage.
Please keep your idiotic notions to yourself. Also, being that you’re so clueless — please refrain from associating yourself to “Cardinal Nation.”
My 2 cents – this kid’s career has been subpar for 2 reasons – injury & opportunity. Neither has allowed him to get his career on track. However, other teams can see the potential, which is why the Sox are hanging onto him, not wanting to lose him for nothing. I understand he’s a “buy low” candidate, but if given the opportunity, I think he can be a solid major league contributor.
Now, what they should do is stop jerking around with this super-utility crap and put him back behind the dish. Again, opportunity. It drives me nuts that Sox ownership feels that they should keep SANDY LEON over him. We know who Leon is – subpar offensively and defensively who homers now & again. He’s reached his ceiling. I don’t feel Swihart has yet.
So forget the trade. There’s one guy to let go of here. Leon and take your chances the rest of the year with Swihart as the backup. He honestly cannot be worse than Leon anyway…
Leon is pathetic. He can’t get out of his own way. Can’t hit and is 0 for 7 throwing out runners. He goes Swihart becomes the backup catcher and bring up Sam Travis as backup first baseman.