Opinion

Red Sox Won the Blake Swihart Trade

The Boston Red Sox made waves on April 19th, sending catcher and former top prospect Blake Swihart to the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for Single A outfield prospect Marcus Wilson. At the time, Red Sox nation was absolutely irate. Swihart never panned out at the major league level but still offered some promise with his bat and glove. Giving up a former top prospect for a relatively unknown prospect always hurts, especially when it looked like Swihart finally had a path to playing time. However, after nearly three months, it’s clear to see that the Red Sox won the Blake Swihart trade.

Three Months Later, Red Sox Won the Blake Swihart Trade

Swihart has struggled during his time with the Arizona Diamondbacks. The 27-year old still hasn’t earned regular playing time and currently owns an ugly .141/.191/.281 slash line during 68 plate appearances. He still hasn’t managed to shake the injury bug, as he went on the injured list on June 1st with a strained right oblique. RotoWire notes that Swihart might not have a roster spot when he’s healthy and could be designated for assignment.

Marcus Wilson, meanwhile, is tearing up the minors. The 22-year old started the year in Portland but has found great success in Salem. The first-year Sox prospect recorded a .342/.410/.632 slash line with a corresponding 192 wRC+ in 134 plate appearances. He was particularly impressive in June, hitting six home runs while posting a .781 slugging percentage and winning Carolina League Player of the Month honors. He’ll never be an every day starter, but he’s good enough to be the 23rd-best prospect in the system, per Sox Prospects. If everything breaks right, he could develop into a serviceable fourth outfielder at the major league level.

Sending Swihart to the Diamondbacks allowed Christian Vazquez to develop into one of the best catchers in baseball. After battling through an awful all-around season in 2018, Vazquez has been one of the best offensive catchers in the game. Through 253 plate appearances, Vazquez has recorded a .300/.333/.515 slash line with an accompanying 115 wRC+. His 13 home runs are already a career high and his 2.7 fWAR is the second-best among catchers. He’s managed to hit this mark despite playing in 10 fewer games than Yasmani Grandal and J.T. Realmuto.

The Red Sox ruined Blake Swihart. The one-time top prospect was horribly mismanaged during his time in Boston, and everyone in the organization takes some of the blame. However, the Red Sox were right to give up on him in 2019. There’s clearly nothing left in his tank and they still managed to get a depth prospect who might have a major league future. Additionally, the move allowed Vazquez to see more playing time and turn into a legitimate star at the catcher position. As someone who hated the move when it happened, I have to admit the Red Sox did the right thing here.

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