Red Sox Rumors: Asking price for Blake Swihart unreasonably high

BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 22: Blake Swihart
BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 22: Blake Swihart /

The Boston Red Sox are listening to offers for catcher/utility man Blake Swihart but their unreasonable demands make a deal unlikely.

The Boston Red Sox need to trade Blake Swihart. The 26-year old has hit a dead end in his career as the forgotten man buried at the bottom of the roster. Opportunities to play have come few and far between. No player in the organization would benefit from a change of scenery more than Swihart.

Unfortunately, trading him may prove difficult if the Red Sox aren’t willing to be realistic about his value.

NBC Sports Boston’s Evan Drellich reports that the asking price for Swihart has been deemed unreasonable by those who have called to inquire about his availability.

"“Hard to find a trade partner when you’re asking for some of teams’ best prospects,” said a talent evaluator with one team that has talked to the Sox about Swihart."

Let’s face it, Swihart’s value has been reduced to practically nothing. The Red Sox can blame only themselves for this. They crushed any value the former top prospect had by toying with his career.

Swihart quickly shot up the prospect rankings after being drafted in the first round of the 2011 amateur draft. His value was tied primarily to being a catcher with a bat that had All-Star potential given the dearth of offense at the position. His bat doesn’t profile nearly as well at other positions.

The Red Sox have openly admitted that they can’t trust Swihart’s defense enough to allow him to be an everyday catcher. They tried moving him to left field in 2016 only for the experiment to be cut short when he suffered a devastating ankle injury colliding with a wall. He missed the rest of that season and struggled mightily at the plate when he returned to Triple-A Pawtucket last year.

The injury was out of the team’s control. Yet even if his development hadn’t been hindered by the time he lost, Swihart’s value was on the decline from the moment the organization gave up on him as a catcher.

Heading into this season the team was torn over Swihart’s role. He spent spring training in the mix for the backup catcher role yet the team also wanted to expand his versatility by trying him at other positions. Catcher is the most mentally and physically challenging position in the game. Instead of honing his skills behind the plate, Swihart’s focus was pulled in several directions.

It’s not uncommon for teams to let a star catcher see some time at a less demanding position, such as first base, in order to reduce the wear and tear on their bodies while keeping their bat in the lineup. However, there’s a reason you don’t see utility players who occasionally fill in at catcher.

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Not only have the Red Sox stunted Swihart’s development as a catcher by refusing to give him more time to improve his defensive skills, his overall lack of playing time has prevented him from finding any rhythm at the plate. He’s hitting .133/.212/.167 in 30 at-bats this season. That production isn’t going to entice teams to come knocking on Dave Dombrowksi’s door with trade offers.

Swihart would benefit from a demotion to Triple-A where he’d find consistent playing time. Unfortunately, he’s out of minor league options and can’t be demoted without his consent. His agent has already expressed that he’d prefer to see his client traded in order to give him a chance to flourish with an organization willing to give him a chance. Asking Swihart to accept a demotion instead of acquiescing to their trade demand would be a slap in the face at this point.

The impending return of Dustin Pedroia will force the Red Sox into making a roster decision. Swihart is among the players on the bubble who could lose his spot. Designating him for assignment puts the Red Sox in a position where they have to trade him or release him for nothing. Rival teams know this and won’t give up much for a player they could scoop up off the scrap heap if Boston fails to find a trade partner.

No team is surrendering a top prospect for Swihart. The Red Sox have no leverage in trade talks. He was once one of their most valuable trade chips yet they refused to part with his tantalizing upside when they had the chance. Now they’ve ruined him.

Next: Changes coming to top prospects list

The Red Sox are stuck with Swihart on the roster with no clear path to steady playing time. A trade is the only viable solution. In order to accommodate that, the Red Sox have to stop pretending they haven’t dragged Swihart’s value through the mud.