Agent wants the Red Sox to trade Blake Swihart so here are some potential fits for him
Once a top prospect, Swihart has failed to establish himself in the majors
It wasn't long ago that Blake Swihart looked like a core piece for the Boston Red Sox. Now in the Arizona Diamondbacks front office, former prospect writer Jason Parks published a scouting report in 2013 that described Swihart as a "switch-hitting catcher with legit defensive skills and a projectable hit tool." In other words, Swihart had the chance to be an asset.
Swihart has since dealt with injuries and offered underwhelming performances. He's without options, meaning he can't be sent to the minors without passing through waivers. The Red Sox, in response, have kept him on their big-league bench, albeit seldom deploying him in games. As of Wednesday morning, he'd hit .138/.219/.172 in 29 at-bats over Boston's first 42 games.
Predictably, Swihart isn't happy about serving as a human paperweight -- to the point where his agent, Brodie Scoffield, has requested a trade, per Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston:
Swihart earlier in May said he would leave the trade topic to Scoffield. Scoffield declined to comment at the time. Now, with more than a quarter of the season completed and Swihart still serving no purpose other than "protection for us as a third catcher," as Dombrowski put it Tuesday, Scoffield is pushing for change.
Scoffield notes the Red Sox are ripe for a change, given second baseman Dustin Pedroia is nearing a return from offseason knee surgery. When Pedroia comes back, Boston will have to sort out their bench situation: Sandy Leon figures to remain the backup catcher, and Mitch Moreland cannot be optioned to the minors. That leaves Swihart and utility man Brock Holt as the candidates for dismissal. Holt does have an option left, but he's played well while receiving more opportunities than Swihart. As such, Swihart would seem to be the odd man out.
The funny thing about Swihart's situation is that he'll probably draw more interest than he should -- but not enough to net a meaningful return. The 26-year-old has hit .260/.321/.367 (84 OPS+) in 422 big-league plate appearances, and hasn't posted an OPS higher than .740 in the minors since 2014. Yes, injuries and boredom probably played a part -- but those aren't great marks.
What's more is the Red Sox have used Swihart as an outfielder in most of his appearances this season, with him having caught just one inning. An acquiring team hoping to plug in Swihart behind the plate might have to let him shake the rust off. Still, there are some teams who Swihart could appeal to.
In the spirit of being messy, let us list and examine a few potential fits:
The Miami Marlins: A low-stakes environment where Swihart could give J.T. Realmuto a breather once a week (and assert himself as Realmuto's heir once he's traded elsewhere). Additionally, the Marlins could find playing time for Swihart in the outfielder corners, as Derek Dietrich and Cameron Maybin have failed to perform.
The Chicago White Sox: The theme here is "rebuilding clubs with little to lose." The White Sox are sporting a three-man bench, which includes Omar Narvaez as their backup. Narvaez has hit better than anyone realizes (career 87 OPS+), yet Swihart's defensive versatility could appeal to Rick Hahn and company.
The Cincinnati Reds: Continuing on, the Reds just traded Devin Mesoraco for Matt Harvey, meaning they're using Tony Cruz -- yes, the longtime Yadier Molina caddy -- as their backup. Unless the Reds think Cruz is a good luck charm, they're probably open to adding someone like Swihart.
The Texas Rangers: Consider that the Rangers are bad; that Robinson Chirinos could be an attractive trade piece at the deadline; and that, ultimately, it would make no significant difference to the universe whether the Rangers go with Swihart or recent waiver addition Carlos Perez as their backup backstop for the rest of the season.
Pedroia is expected back by the end of May. The Red Sox, then, have at most two weeks to figure out what's next.
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