Blake Swihart has been nothing close to what the Red Sox hoped for when they drafted him. The fact is that it appears to be the right time to dump him.
When the Boston Red Sox drafted Blake Swihart back in 2011, the team thought they might very well have their catcher of the future. In his first full season in the minor leagues, Blake Swihart did nothing to discourage their high hopes in him. He hit .298/.366/.428 with two homers and 42 RBI with the High-A Salem Red Sox.
Swihart did much of the same over the next couple of seasons as he soared through the ranks. With a .321/.378/.370 slash line in 2015, the team decided to give the then-23-year-old his first shot at the big-league level. He appeared to capitalize on the opportunity as well and he played in a still-career-high 84 games that season with the Red Sox. He hit .274/.319/.392 with five home runs and 31 RBI in 288 at-bats.
However, injuries took a toll on him over the next two seasons. He played a mere 116 games between the major and minor leagues from 2016-2017 and even moved off the catcher position with regularity, making appearances at first base, and in the outfield.
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This year, Swihart has finally recaptured his health, but not his previous success or anything close to it. Right now, the 26-year old is hitting .147/.216/.176 with zero home runs and three RBI in 68 at-bats spread out amongst 32 games. He is struggling to earn playing time ahead of the two other Red Sox’s backstops, Christian Vazquez (signed through 2021 via a contract extension) and Sandy Leon.
With limited playing time available, it’s hard to see how Swihart will ever be able to reclaim his past success. The catcher thinks so himself as he and his agent requested a trade last month in the hopes of finding regular playing time elsewhere. Now, we all know why the Red Sox would like to keep him. He was a first-round draft pick and one who actually flashed his potential in the minor leagues as well as the majors.
That being said, he simply isn’t that player anymore and is taking up a roster spot that could be occupied by more deserving players like Tzu-Wei Lin, who is hitting .294 in Triple-A. The fact is, this partnership has become toxic for everyone involved and the team and the player would both be better off putting this in the rear-view mirror.
Will the Red Sox be able to get much for the catcher? Certainly not, but it’s not worth clogging a roster spot with him to find out if he can increase his value that has only regressed over the last few years.