The Red Sox are receiving pressure to trade their young catcher.
The once highly coveted Blake Swihart never caught a break in Boston. In fact, he barely got a chance.
Now, Swihart’s agent is requesting his client be traded, per ESPN. Swihart only has 32 plate appearances on the year.
"“We’ve had conversations with the team, and they’re aware of how we feel,” agent Brodie Scoffield told NBC Sports Boston. “Blake’s in a really difficult position. We’ve got a switch-hitter, offensive impact player, and his bat deserves a chance to be in the lineup."
In Scoffield’s defense, Swihart, 26, has been criminally misused and underdeveloped by the Red Sox. He never got a real opportunity to start at catcher during the regular season, and his career was shelved for a year thanks to an ankle injury suffered by playing left field at Fenway Park.
"“Blake’s not the type of player that’s going to ask or demand a trade (on his own). He’s focused on what’s in front of him and happy having a positive impact on the team and the situation at hand. That being said, I don’t think we’re building any type of trade value, nor helping him progress as a ballplayer, nor is the team really being served by him in this role.”"
Not only is Swihart no longer playing catcher, he’s been relegated to a utility player who rarely gets at-bats for the Red Sox. Not only is this stunting Swihart’s growth as a player, but it’s hurting his value as a trade chip.
Swihart turned heads as a rookie in 2015, when he batted .274 with five home runs in 84 games. But it’s been all downhill from there, thanks to injuries and a diminished role with the Red Sox. The young catcher has only played 40 games with the Red Sox over three seasons.
Even though Swihart is out of sorts at the plate in 2018, his role with the Red Sox was a failed plan from the get-go. Placing a young catcher in the outfield while barely giving him time to develop in his natural position behind the plate is a gaffe on Boston’s part.
As a result, Swihart is batting .138 in 15 games this year, and has seen time at first base, designated hitter and left field. So much for developing a young catcher.
Scoffield also pointed out the return of injured second baseman Dustin Pedroia, which will impact the rest of the roster. This leaves Eduardo Nunez and Brock Holt to take over the utility roles, while further pushing Swihart’s role into limbo.
"“With Dustin Pedroia returning, it seems now would be the time to make a move with Blake,” Scoffield said."
Scoffield has grown agitated with Swihart’s unclear role with the Red Sox.
"“We’re talking about Blake being the Marwin Gonzalez of the Red Sox,” Scoffield said. “We’re talking about ground balls at second base, we’re taking ground balls at third base, we’re in the outfield, we’re catching. But none of that’s materialized.“And so it’s mixed messages. It’s an undefined role for a player that can catch, that can hit, and whose athleticism allows him to move all around the diamond.”"
Add Swihart to Boston’s inability to develop young prospects. We’ve seen this before with Daniel Bard, Will Middlebrooks, Craig Hansen and many others. The least the Red Sox can do is give Swihart a chance to save his career with an opportunity elsewhere.