“See my smile? It feels good.”- Blake Swihart after smacking an RBI triple.
Blake Swihart has been, one of the hottest players in Spring Training so far for the Red Sox. While there have only been a handful of games, Swihart shines in every opportunity this spring. First and foremost, I am a Blake Swihart guy. I see him hitting the ball all over Fenway Park, and have seen him blast balls out of McCoy Stadium. However, Swihart being a catcher for the Red Sox no longer seems possible. That being said, I believe there are many other ways in which Blake could contribute to the team.
Ultimate Utility Man
This may be a little redundant with the signing of Eduardo Nunez, but Swihart could take this role and run with it. Swihart is out of options and is looking for any sort of playing time he can get. With questions surrounding Brock Holt and Marco Hernández, who is in need of further shoulder surgery, the Red Sox will be looking for someone to bail them out with injured players or those in need of a day off.
Blake Swihart played 13 games in the outfield in 2016. While this ended up with an injury, that experience is incredibly valuable. Blake played shortstop in high school, and is getting looks in at second base. It is not hard for catchers to convert to first base. This covers the majority of positions the Red Sox are in need of depth this season. While it is unlikely Swihart will reach the levels of 2014-2015 Brock Holt utility man, nonetheless Swihart could be an incredible player for Alex Cora to call upon to fill in any role.
Blake Swihart was one of the many Red Sox players to thrive under Torey Lovullo while he was the interim manager of the Red Sox in the late part of the 2015 season. During the 2015 season, Swihart swung a decent bat with a .274 average, 31 RBIs, and just five home runs. However, one thing to look at is his numbers after Lovullo took over in the second half of the season. In that time Swihart raked with a .354/.415/.490/.905 slash line. The Red Sox letting Lovullo go is something that will always bother me. He could bring things out of his players that other managers just cannot do. If Swihart does move, this would be the time to do it, his value is the highest it can be, and he is out of options. A trade with the Diamondbacks might help both sides.
Although Arizona just signed veteran catcher Alex Avila to a two year deal, he is prone to injuries. Not to mention the Diamondbacks are in need of a utility player, especially one the 2017 National League Manager of the Year knows and likes. The Red Sox could land 23 year-old Tyler Mark in the deal. Arizona took Mark in the 6th round of the MLB Draft from Concordia. There Mark was the single-season save leader. Arizona attempted to convert him into a starter. This started off slowly, so he returned to the bullpen. Many believe that he now has a better feel and command for his pitches and could become a Major League regular.
Cover image courtesy of NBC Sports.