Did the Red Sox mismanage Blake Swihart?
With Christian Vazquez being added to the active 25-man roster Friday and Swihart being sent down to Triple-A Pawtucket, it was then announced that Swihart will begin to add left field to his skill set because the Red Sox would like to have both Swihart and Vazquez as part of their future and they both can't catch every day.
This on the surface makes sense, but looking further into it, it really doesn’t.
Swihart was never a full-time catcher until he was drafted by the Red Sox in the first round of the 2011 draft out of high school in New Mexico. He’s worked extensively on his craft behind the plate and has improved each and every year. Now, even though he’s still learning as a catcher, the Red Sox want him to take time away from that and spend time learning a brand new position in left field in Pawtucket.
Left field is already crowded with Brock Holt and Chris Young at the big league level and then Rusney Castillo in Triple-A. President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski was asked about this Friday, but he didn’t really give a real answer.
“Well, I’ve learned throughout the years you never have enough good players,” Dombrowski said. “So, I hope that Blake tears the cover off the ball and Rusney does the same thing and then we’ll tackle that at the time.”
Looking back at last season, it seemed the Red Sox could have landed Cole Hamels for Swihart. Obviously a few other players would have been included, but Swihart being the big piece. While yes, Vazquez was out the entire 2015 season because of Tommy John surgery, the team could have survived with Ryan Hanigan and Sandy Leon behind the plate.
The team was in desperate need of good starting pitching last year, and still is this year. Even with David Price in the mix, imagine a starting rotation with Price, Hamels, Clay Buchholz, Rick Porcello, Joe Kelly, Eduardo Rodriguez, etc. Not bad at all – and it realistically could have happened.
Even more into the future the Red Sox have first-round pick outfielder Andrew Benintendi up-and-coming as well, so it doesn’t seem like Swihart has a guaranteed role moving forward. As hard as it is to part ways with a young talent, it’s part of the game and doing business.
It is worth noting, last spring Dombrowski wasn’t with the club. It was Ben Cherington making the decisions, who is someone noted to hang on to prospects. Dombrowski on the other hand is not, so it would have been interesting to see what would have happened if it was Dombrowski making the call and not Cherington.
Regardless, it seems the Red Sox miscalculated things with Swihart and now are forced to scramble with adding another position to his name.