Swihart's agent asks Red Sox for trade
Swihart has received just 29 at-bats in the club's first 42 games this season and can't be sent down to Triple-A to get regular playing time because he's out of minor-league options. That's consigned the former top prospect to late pinch-hitting duties and the rare start as the designated hitter, prompting his agent, Brodie Scoffield, to ask the club's front office for a trade.
"We've had conversations with the team, and they're aware of how we feel," Scoffield told Evan Drellich of 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.
"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."
Swihart was heralded as a top catching prospect in the minors. The Red Sox attempted to convert him into an outfielder in order to get him more playing time in 2016, but he suffered a serious ankle injury after crashing into the left-field wall at Fenway Park. The Red Sox used him as a catcher during spring training, but he's only appeared in one inning behind the plate this season. He's also taken reps at first base and in left field while struggling at the plate in limited playing time.
"It's more an unfortunate situation I think probably for him, because a lot of times it’s a veteran-type player that fits that role that doesn't play all that much," president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski told Drellich. "And for him, ideally he'd be out there playing on an everyday basis, but with the rules and the optional status, we just don't have that luxury with him."
Manager Alex Cora has been adamant about sticking with Sandy Leon and Christian Vazquez as Boston's primary catchers despite their struggles offensively. The Red Sox enter play Wednesday sitting last in the majors in OPS among catchers.
Player GP HR RBI K AVG/OBP/SLG WAR Vazquez 31 0 5 18 .174/.224/.211 -0.9 Leon 16 1 5 11 .170/.220/.234 -0.3
The Red Sox may soon be forced into making a move with Swihart. Second baseman Dustin Pedroia is nearing a return from knee surgery, and the club will need to open a roster spot. Brock Holt has minor-league options, though it's unlikely the Red Sox would send him down to Triple-A.
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