The Boston Red Sox and Alex Cora have been getting a lot of flack this year for their “champagne problem” of having a great backup catcher and all around player in Blake Swihart but nowhere to put him. In fact, Cora and the Sox have been getting a lot of pressure to move Swihart for help in the bullpen. As we all know life before Kimbrel can be quite the adventure.
But due to an broken finger to catcher Christian Vazquez, who is expected to miss 6-8 weeks due to surgery, having Swihart on the roster seems like a pretty smart move. Cora can add himself giving his critics the finger to his wall.
For those of you that don’t know, Cora adds a snapshot from each victory to his wall. Not that that has anything to do with a broken finger or Swihart, I like it.
Swihart is a great option to replace Vazquez, who is having a pretty good year defensively and is known across the league for his ability to help frame pitches. Because of this he can get his pitchers more strikes than the average catcher. Unfortunately, he doesn’t add all too much with his bat (he’s currently hitting .213) but the defensive trade off makes it worth it. Although his -0.8 WAR may make you think otherwise.
Swihart has not had much of a chance to shine this year. In fact he has only had 88 plate appearances in 2018. Sure, he hasn’t done much with those opportunities by hitting .185, but I think the 26 year old can get into a groove if he gets daily playing time as a catcher. Because he was a utility man before the injury, Swihart has played LF, RF, 1B, C, 2B and 3B this year. Not knowing what position you’re going to play day in and day out definitely takes a mental toll.
As a full time catcher in 2014 and 2015, when he was bouncing between AA and AAA ball, Swihart batted .293 (110 G) and .321 (22 G) respectively. He then went on to hit .274 with the Red Sox over 84 G, but hasn’t had the chance to get back to that level since. And due to the injury to Vazquez, the Sox and Swihart have the chance to be on the same page for once. Which may make Blake some primo trade bait come the deadline.