According to a report by Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (subscription required), Blake Swihart has been drawing trade interest from rival clubs.
The once heralded, switch-hitting, utility man finished a strong albeit short nine-game stint in the Dominican winter league this past November.
According to Peter Gammons, the 25-year-old played first base, catcher and DHed a little bit. His bat really stood out during this stint, posting an impressive 407/.515/481/.987 slash line.
Gammons also mentioned the possibility that Boston may give Swihart a look at second base to fill the void left by the Dustin Pedroia injury. Swihart told Gammons he would be open to playing anywhere on the diamond.
“I’ll play anywhere they need or want me,” says Swihart. “I’m planning to work at my catching, at first, second, third and the outfield until I get to spring training.”
Swihart is out of minor league options this year, so if he doesn’t make the big club out of Spring Training, he would have to clear through waivers in order to report to AAA Pawtucket.
The lack of options coupled with his athleticism, versatility and potential have given Dave Dombrowski pause when receiving trade calls from rival clubs.
Dombrowski tells Ken Rosenthal the following about Swihart;
“We figure he gives us third catcher protection and has enough athletic ability to play different spots — he can play outfield, he can play some first base. That’s what our plans are for him at this time,” Dombrowski said.
“You could never say you would not move him or anyone else. Right now, he’s still part of our plans. He has ability, there’s no question about that. The organization loved him before I got here. When I’ve seen him, I’ve really liked him.
Due to Swihart’s injury history and lack of options, the Red Sox wouldn’t have much leverage in trade negotiations thus making him more valuable to Boston than to other teams, at this time.
A strong Spring Training performance or better yet, an early season spike in performance while playing multiple positions, could have teams looking at him as a cheap Ben Zobrist type option. Dombrowski would then be negotiating from a position of strength with a sell high opportunity on his hands.
The Red Sox would be wise to let things play out with Swihart until they can at least determine how valuable he may be to the organization he currently works for but anything can happen in this odd Hot Stove season.