Yesterday afternoon, the Boston Red Sox designated catcher Blake Swihart for assignment. Swihart, once thought of as baseball’s next Buster Posey, will surely be claimed considering he is still only 27-years-old.
With that being said, the question of why the Sox decided to move on from Swihart arises. The answer? They think Sandy Leon can help out with the starting pitching. From the evidence seen last night, Leon was not what this team is missing.
Leon led the majors in catcher’s ERA last season but that feat is really overblown. It’s easy to have a low catcher ERA with two former Cy Young’s and Chris Sale pitching to you.
Leon does call a good game. All of Boston’s pitchers rave about it. But Leon can not pitch for Boston. The starters need to execute. The 6-12 start was not a Blake Swihart problem even though the Red Sox want you to believe it.
Swihart never got the chance to develop as a catcher for the Red Sox because Boston never gave him that chance. In 2015 he was the starter for a short period then got demoted. The Sox then tried making him a super utility player, and he rode the bench.
Yes Swihart had his fair share of injuries, but how did the Red Sox expect him to develop behind the plate if they put him all over the field? He could not.
The Sox now have a black hole at the bottom of the order with Leon and Christian Vasquez as the only catching option’s. Obviously Boston showed they could win like this last season, but with the offense scuffling, why give up on the young catcher that could give you an advantage over a lot of MLB teams? Not many teams have the ability to pencil in a catcher with the ability to swing the bat. Manager Alex Cora knew this too, as he would consistently use Swihart to pinch hit for Vasquez in the late innings of this early season.
Cora now no longer has that ability because they have the “pitching whisperer” on the roster. It’s obvious the Red Sox think Leon will help solve the disaster that has been their starting pitching, but this looks like a panic move by Boston.
-Jarrod Ribaudo (@Jribs53)