Blake Swihart is the most misused player in the Red Sox organization. Catcher is his natural position but he hasn’t proven himself capable of handling the defensive responsibilities at the major league level. At least not to the point where the team is comfortable using him at catcher over either of their other options.
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The Red Sox have tried using Swihart at other positions with moderate success. However, his bat hasn’t been the same since his collision with the left field wall in 2016. He’s currently hitting .160/.250/.200 in 25 at-bats this season.
It’s been a very discouraging downturn for a once-promising prospect. Has learning new positions been too much of a distraction for him to focus at the plate? Is he struggling to find a rhythm with sporadic playing time?
Swihart isn’t going to improve by sitting on the bench but the Red Sox can’t afford to play him every day while he’s struggling. He’s out of minor league options so he can’t be sent to Pawtucket unless the team can convince him that the consistent playing time he’d receive in Triple-A is the best thing for him.
It would also be difficult to try to trade him with his value at rock bottom. Another team would need to be convinced he’s a viable option at catcher since his bat doesn’t profile as well at other positions. If he doesn’t heat up soon, his bat doesn’t profile well at any position.
Boston is in a bind with Swihart. Either they stick with giving him occasional playing time off the bench or they cut bait with him.