The Milwaukee Brewers were recently listed as a possible landing spot for Boston Red Sox catcher Blake Swihart. With Stephen Vogt officially out for the rest of the season, having a catcher with a good bat could be beneficial.
According to MLB Trade Rumors, Blake Swihart’s agent has informed the Red Sox that Swihart would like to be traded. He currently has no real role on the team. Christian Vazquez and Sandy Leon are their primary catchers, and they have adequate outfield depth in Andrew Benintendi, Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley, and J.D. Martinez. The Milwaukee Brewers were listed as a potential landing spot for the former first round draft pick.
Swihart has only totaled 24 innings total in the field so far in the 2018 season, and he has 32 plate appearances. In other words, his talent isn’t being adequately used by the Sox. Plus, he is out of minor league options, so they cannot send him back down without most likely losing him. 2019 is his first arbitration year.
How could he help the Brewers?
Blake Swihart has played a lot of different positions. He is mainly a catcher, but in 2016 he transitioned to an outfield role. He also has taken reps at first a few times this season. In addition, when Dustin Pedroia was injured, he began to learn the ropes at both second and third.
The Milwaukee Brewers have enough outfield depth already, so Swihart would function mainly as a backup catcher. But, it is worth noting that he is willing to transition to other positions in order to keep his bat in the lineup.
With Stephen Vogt undergoing surgery, who the Crew was hoping to have back soon, their catching options are limited. Manny Pina is cemented in his starting role for the time being, but when it comes to the backup, Swihart would be a better option. Jett Bandy currently has a batting average of .172. Swihart’s doesn’t look great for the year at .138, but it is a small sample size. Career numbers show that Swihart has the advantage when it comes to the plate.
Swihart is a switch-hitter with a wRC+ of 87 on his career, which is below average. His inconsistent playing time this year has skewed this year’s stats, but he has proven to be solid. The inconsistency has been present his whole career. He has never played more than 84 games in a season.
Both Jacob Nottingham and Christian Bethancourt are available in the minor league system, but they are inexperienced in the majors. Although Nottingham saw a little time earlier in the season because of Pina’s injury, it is not enough for him to permanently become the backup catcher. Bethancourt is not on the 40-man roster, and does not have the best MLB track record.
Is this a bad idea?
Not entirely. But the price may be too much for the Brewers to pursue this opportunity. The Red Sox need more outfield depth, a utility infielder, and more bullpen arms.
The first two names that probably pop into most people’s heads when they hear this are Jonathan Villar and Keon Broxton. Villar is mainly a second baseman. But, he could most likely transition into any infield role a team needed him too. With Broxton, he has major league experience, but much like Swihart, there just isn’t a place for him to have a role on the Brewers squad at the moment.
The Milwaukee Brewers were one of many teams listed as possibilities for Blake Swihart’s new destination. It is likely that he will be courted by quite a few squads. With the news of Vogt’s injury, the news of Blake Swihart wanting to be traded may be the answer to the Crew’s prayers.