Beyond the Batter's Box

Is Blake Swihart leaving Boston?

Blake Swihart and company request a trade from Boston

Featured image courtesy of Zimbio.com :((May 20, 2018 – Source: Elsa/Getty Images North America) 

The Sox had a big question going into this season: How will Boston handle the log-jam at the catcher spot? Sandy Leon, Blake Swihart, and Christian Vazquez have all juggled time behind the dish. Swihart won’t see any time in the outfield either. Cora will use Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr. and J.D. Martinez more often than he will Swihart. Well, earlier this week Swihart might have answered the question for the Sox.

On Wednesday, Swihart’s agent asked the Red Sox to trade his client.  It should not be too surprising that Swihart and company requested a trade.  He’s out of minor league options. With nowhere to put him, the Sox are stuck holding on to three catchers on the major league roster.  Swihart’s trade value is not great, his offensive numbers are down, given the limited playing time.

Swihart was once a highly touted prospect. He was the 26th pick in the 2011 MLB draft.  After catching fire in the minors, he quickly cooled off once he got to the majors in 2015.

In 2018 he has only played in 17 of the 47 games this season. He currently sports a .133/.212/.167 slash line with an OPS+ of 4. He currently holds a -3.5 Weighted Runs Above Average, WRAA. 0 is league average for WRAA.  He’s only holding a 2 wRC+, Weighted Runs Created Plus. This stat is scaled so league average is 100.  He has a 21.6K%, which is  also a bit concerning.

Swihart is producing a decent quality of contact, however, most of the balls he puts in play are finding a glove.  He’s getting medium contact 52.2% of the time and hard contact 30.4% of the time. What is hurting his production, is his groundball rate. He has a glaring  47.8% groundball rate which is what is killing him at the dish.

If indeed a trade does happen, There are plenty of teams who would benefit from Swihart’s services. The Miami Marlins were involved in the latest trade rumor. Before acquiring Devin Mesoraco, the New York Mets inquired about J.T. Realmuto. Other smaller trade destinations would be the White Sox, Athletics, and Rangers.  However, the Sox could still benefit from Swihart if they made room for him.

Boston signed Vazquez to a $13.55 million deal, so he is not going anywhere for the time being.  Swihart could fight for a backup spot with Leon. Sandy is only hitting .208/.263/.283 with similar underlying stats as Blake.  Sandy has a -3.2 WRAA, and a 46 wRC+.  While 17 games is a small sample size, Blake has a 65 UZR/150 in 2018. His defense, despite the poor perception,  may be better than some think. Plus, he really hasn’t been given the opportunities to showcase his defensive abilities at the MLB level.

Swihart may have given the Sox a solution to their catching problem. It could be only a matter of time until a move is made. It only depends on the haul that Boston gets in return for Swihart.

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