1Time to move on
The Boston Red Sox may soon part ways with utility man Blake Swihart. It was reported on Wednesday by NBC Sports Bostons’ Evan Drellich that Swihart’s agent has asked the team for a trade.
The issue now becomes whether the team will comply, and if they do which other teams want to add him to the roster. There should be some interest for Swihart due to his offense alone, but it’s unclear what teams may be willing to give up for him. Others may be able to force Boston’s hand, knowing that the Red Sox have no place for him and no ability to send him down to Triple-A.
The worst case scenario would be the Red Sox trading a former top prospect for a player to be named later, cash considerations, or a long down the line prospect. In the best case the team can add a reliever to help the ailing bullpen right the ship. These four trades have that in mind.
2Texas Rangers for Reliever Kevin Jepsen
The Boston Red Sox need bullpen help, but the aren’t going to bring in a stud for Blake Swihart. Instead, they may focus on older players or those with some potential upside. Jepsen meets both of those categories.
The 33-year old veteran is in his first season with the Rangers, and his start has not been ideal. Jepsen has a 5.63 ERA in 16.0 IP so far, but perhaps a change of scenery and a better team could help him turn things around. In 2015, he spent time with the Rays and Twins, with a sub-3.00 ERA. It’s not likely that he could get back to that level, but Boston may not need him to.
With the injuries in the bullpen adding up, the Red Sox just need a player that can bridge the gap. Even just a slight improvement for Jepsen would make him a much better option than Heath Hembree.
This is clearly a sell-low deal for the Red Sox as they may have missed their best chance at trading Swihart earlier this spring.
3New York Mets for RP Jerry Blevins
Last season, Jerry Blevins had just a 2.94 ERA for the Mets. He’s up to 5.63 this season though. He could benefit from a change of scenery as well, and Boston could be place where he finds success. Blevins has had success in his long career against AL East teams, other than the Red Sox. While that’s not necessarily a sign that he will succeed in the American League once again, it shows that there is at least some hope for it and a previous track record of it.
The Mets have used five different catchers so far in 2018, and none of them have a batting average over .200. Blake Swihart could certainly help offensively. The risk for New York is throwing him in as an MLB catcher once again. He has been out of that position for quite some time in Boston, but it could be worth the risk. Swihart has struggled at the plate this season, but his at bats have been severely limted. He has the potential to become a great power hitter as a catcher, or anywhere else on the field.
4Cleveland Indians for RP Tyler Olson
The Cleveland Indians may be looking for a backup catcher. Roberto Perez has been in that role, but he is hitting just .122 in 2018 and .209 for his career. Cleveland could use an upgrade in this role, and Blake Swihart could also be mixed in as a DH every now and then.
In return, Boston could look to land lefty Tyler Olson, a 28-year old with a career 3.49 ERA. This scenario only works if the Indians love Swihart, and the Red Sox have another deal to hold over their heads. Olson is not off to a great start this season, but he’s young enough for a reliever that he’s someone Cleveland likely wants to hold onto for the foreseeable future. Selling them on Swihart as a true offensive weapon would go a long way towards Boston and Cleveland making this swap.
5Baltimore Orioles for RP Pedro Araujo
This is a long shot. Pedro Araujo is one of the better pitching prospects that the Orioles have, but there offense has been so poor to start 2018. They’re also going to lose Manny Machado at some point in the near future.
Dealing for Swihart could help Baltimore now and in the future, as he may be a player to build a lineup around in a few seasons. In 2018, the Orioles rank 17th in runs scored and 23rd in batting average. They’re 9th in home runs with 53, but 13 of those belong to Machado. He’s gone either in a July trade or as a free agent. The O’s will need to add another player with power. Blake Swihart could fill in as an outfielder, backup catcher, or occasional DH. He’s versatile enough to be enticing to Baltimore.
They may not want to send Araujo to Boston though. He’s just 24 and in his first major league season. In 14 games with 21.0 IP though, he has a 6.86 ERA. He’s likely a much better player than that suggests, and id the Red Sox could land him they would probably find a way to get him back on track.