Blake Swihart C/LF, Boston Red Sox
We all know Jerry Dipoto loves older prospects who are proven producers in the high minors. If that player has some Major League experience, even better. Just look at Ariel Miranda, Mitch Haniger, and Ben Gamel to name a few.
This spring, the former highly touted prospect Blake Swihart, will likely find himself on a new team. The Mariners should be in on this opportunity.
Currently, Seattle has a competition for it’s back up catcher spot. The contenders include Twitter fan favorite Mike Marjama, David Frietas, and Tuffy Gosewhich. Marjama is seen as the favorite, and appears to have the trust of the Mariners coaching staff.
However, what none of the other backup contenders offer is the versatility Swihart brings. First, Swihart is a switch hitting catcher. Having a lefty catcher on the bench is always nice. Well, that’s at least what Bill Kruger thinks.
Second, Swihart is, by all accounts, an impressive defensive catcher. But perhaps most appealing is Swihart’s ability to patrol the outfield. In fact, he has logged 113.2 innings in left field, and produced a 8.0 UZR/150.
Obviously, the small sample size alert is in effect. But the fact that Swihart might be able to provide any decent outfield defense can really help a team that plans to carry 13 pitchers into the season.
Offensively, Swihart was lauded for his hit tool, and in 2014, appeared to be one of the bright young stars ready to make his impact in 2015. He slashed .293/.341/.469 between AA and AAA. He made his debut in 2015, and put up the respectable slash of .274/.319/.392 in 309 PA’s.
Then, as it is prone to do, the injury bug took bite after bite at Swihart, who managed to play just 106 games combined in 2016 and 2017 across AAA and the big leagues.
As a result, Swihart is out of options, and is in danger of heading to the waiver wire. The Mariners may be content with their backup spot, but both Marjama and Frietas have multiple options left, and Swihart could be a higher upside play to consider.