It has been an awkward arrangement from the start of the season, as the out-of-options Swihart has seen just 24 innings in the field (mostly in left) while picking up 32 plate appearances off of the bench. A catcher by trade, he’s obviously not a part of the team’s plans behind the dish, as he has caught only a single inning despite the marked offensive struggles of Sandy Leon and Christian Vazquez.
In all likelihood, the trade request won’t have any meaningful impact on Swihart’s future. But it’s also likely to be fulfilled on the team’s own volition. After all, the Sox are engaged in what promises to be a season-long battle for supremacy in the AL East. It feels as if something has to give at some point, given that Swihart is effectively being treated as something like a Rule 5 pick.
Frankly, it’s a curious situation all around. Surely, some other teams would be glad to give a shot to the 26-year-old Swihart, a former first-round pick and top-100 prospect. But it’s also tough to imagine he’ll be valued too highly in a trade. Swihart produced good, but hardly overwhelming, offensive numbers on the way up the ladder. Since his first MLB action in 2015, he hasn’t hit much at any level and still hasn’t settled in anywhere defensively while dealing with injuries and inconsistent opportunities. The fact that Swihart cannot be optioned will make it tough for a team that wishes to try him out behind the plate, since he’d have to be thrown right into the fire at the MLB level despite minimal time under the mask this season.
As Drellich explains, it seems that a decision point could soon be approaching, as Dustin Pedroia’s pending return from the disabled list will make it all but impossible to continue carrying Swihart. It could be that the Sox are simply waiting until the last possible moment to make a decision. After all, an injury could arise that would enhance Swihart’s utility to the Boston organization (or to a potential trade partner). Presumably, the Boston front office already knows which rivals have serious interest and what sort of return — a useful MLB reliever? some far-off young talent? — might be achievable, if any. In the meantime, there’s little for Swihart to do but sit back and wait.