As the Red Sox season starts one thing that stands out is the lack of roster competition in this year’s camp.
To his credit Christian Vasquez hit fairly well for a catcher, played top notch D and earned the contract extension he got. It’s unfortunate Leon is blocking Swihart at catcher. OK, I get Sale loves throwing to him but that’s not enough. Sandy doesn’t hit enough or shut down teams defensively to warrant blocking Blake.
We need to play the hand we are dealt. Leon isn’t going anywhere so lets’ make 2018 the year of the Blake Swihart Reclamation Project. With Pedroia on the shelf and Nunez banged up can we move Blake to second? History shows baseball players need to play every day if they are going to develop. Blake is still just 26 years old.
Dustin Pedroia has been hit very hard by the injury bug. He had knee surgery in the offseason. Dave Dombrowski has talked about how they’re going to need to manage his symptoms for the rest of his career. Over the past 4 years he’s only played 145+ games once and just turned 35 years old. All of these factors make me think we won’t get a full season from him ever again.
Moving Blake to the outfield didn’t work. Andrew, Jackie and Mookie are blocking him anyway. Plus those three guys are going great and I don’t want to mess with that. Blake is too talented to cut. No trade offers have come up that we know about. Eduardo Nunez had a rough looking knee injury as well. He’s been in the big leagues 8 years and only played one full season. His style on the field is wild full speed ahead and hasn’t shown he’s durable either.
This could work. Can Blake become a respectable player at 2nd? Absolutely! I see him as a cross between BJ Surhoff, Jason Kendall and Craig Biggio. Craig is reportedly 5’11 185 while Blake is 6’1” 200 pounds. According to baseball reference BJ is 6’1” 185. Over time I bet Blake could have been a fine defensive catcher, but moving will be good. A position change will help save Blake’s legs.
Both Biggio and Surhoff developed reasonably good power. Biggio’s career high in moon shots was 26 while Surhoff’s was 28. The same thing can happen with Blake. All three men show great foot speed for catchers.
Craig eventually led the league in doubles three times and hits twice. Over the course of a 162 game season Craig hit .281 17 HR 67 RBI. Surhoff’s season average is .282 13 HR 81 RBI. That kind of production is easily attainable for Swihart. He just needs a chance to play full time. Both Blake and Craig have good speed. I’d like to move Blake to second to preserve his speed like Houston did with Biggio. In 355 at bats Blake has already hit 17 doubles and 4 triples. Having a switch hitter adds a level of versatility to any managers arsenal that I don’t want to pass up.
I don’t want to take a loss on this one. He’s young and doesn’t make too much money. Let’s make Blake the 2nd baseman for now. Perhaps over time a team can offer the Sox a nice package for Blake. I don’t want to do it, but it would be nice to see him get a shot.
I just hope it’s with the Red Sox.