Hopeless Spring Training for one Red Sox player

(Photo: Steve Mitchell)
Eric D. Schabell
Contributing Writer

You're third in the depth charts at your position on the Red Sox major league roster.

You're out of options, so it's make the team or end up in that no-mans land of free agents not getting hired in 2018.

The first option at your position is making $1.4MM. The second option is making $1.95MM and you're making league minimum.

That's the playing field and hand you're dealt going into Spring Training, it's do or die.

This is the life of 25 yr old Blake Swihart, third in the depth charts at catcher and playing every position the Red Sox can come up with to showcase him during Spring Training. It's a reality, no matter how well he plays there is no realistic chance of him becoming some sort of utility infielder.

Baring an injury, he won't displace Christian Vazquez, the future for the Red Sox at catcher with a cannon for an arm, great defense and game calling. Same for Sandy Leon who is the only catcher who should be behind the plate for Chris Sale starts, teaming up for a 300+ strikeout season in 2017. That makes a suggestion by the Boston Globe that the Red Sox might entertain trading Leon to make room for Swihart almost laughable.

He's doing all he can, tearing it up in Spring Training going 7-for-18 with a home run, four doubles, six RBIs and four runs scored through six games so far. Manager Alex Cora is keeping a straight face as they use Swihart in so many different positions, including first base, third base, the outfield and maybe even second base, aside from catching duties.

"You move him around and see how comfortable he is. The more positions the better,” Cora told reporters. “We don’t have too much time, either. But he can get his reps here. He can get reps on the back fields. The good thing about this situation is he’s willing to do it. “I told him the other day, I said, ‘Hey, let me know. We’re pushing you.’ He said, ‘I just want to play.’"

The showcase is of course hoping that a team comes a knocking due to injuries during their Spring Training, but with a flooded free agent market it feels very unlikely that Swihart would be a first option in such a scenario. The Red Sox could attempt a trade, maybe for another bullpen arm, but that would require some movement in the trade market that has yet to be seen this season.

It looks like the roads all lead to Swihart being designated for assignment (DFA) and Swihart exiting the Red Sox organization.

All the talent in the world just can't make up for an unfortunate situation and in combination with a flooded free agent market, it could lead to unemployment for Swihart in the 2018 season.

Post a comment or via twitter @erics_redsox with your thoughts.

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