Boston, MA– The Boston Red Sox are currently 6-12, back in last place in the American League East after losses against the Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees that saw them get cumulatively outscored by a margin of 16-1. It's not a good look for Boston, and for the front office, it apparently represents a breaking point as the team has officially decided to shake things up to hopefully turn the ship around.
Blake Swihart was a first round draft pick for the Red Sox back in 2011. He made his major league debut in 2015 after struggling with injuries and the challenge of finding his way into a major role in the Red Sox system. With catchers like Christian Vazquez and Sandy Leon dominating playing time, Swihart was often the odd man out, even after learning how to play multiple positions.
After playing in 82 games in 2018 and hitting .229, it seemed like the team spent a good part of the off-season developing Swihart to take over as the team's premier catcher. However, Swihart began the season with 12 games played and just a .231 batting average with seven strikeouts. Even worse, his presence behind the plate as catcher was believed to be a detriment for the pitching staff as Swihart was unable to connect with the pitchers in the same way that Leon and Vazquez had done.
As a result, the Red Sox designated Swihart for assignment yesterday and recalled Leon from the Triple A club he began the season with to return to big league duties.
Against the Yankees, Chris Sale had another abysmal outing, and Leon went 0-3 with two strikeouts at the plate, but it is just a one-game sample size so hopefully Leon's impact will be felt as the season continues.
As for Swihart, he was always a well-liked player in Boston and seemed to be the heart of the team during 2019's spring training. Once a top prospect, it never quite panned out for the 27-year-old, but he did win a title with the team and sometimes, that's the best any of us can ask for. All the best to Blake Swihart.
Image via Flickr / Keith Allison