Boston Red Sox: Don’t trade Blake Swihart, play him!

TORONTO, ON - MAY 11: Blake Swihart #23 of the Boston Red Sox looks on as he warms up during batting practice before the start of MLB game action against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on May 11, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Blake Swihart
TORONTO, ON - MAY 11: Blake Swihart #23 of the Boston Red Sox looks on as he warms up during batting practice before the start of MLB game action against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on May 11, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Blake Swihart /
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ST. PETERSBURG, FL – MARCH 28: Blake Swihart #23 of the Boston Red Sox reacts during a team workout before Opening Day on March 28, 2018, at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images) /

A former top prospect, Blake Swihart may be seeing his time with the Boston Red Sox come to an end. His agent has asked for a trade, and the team has a roster crunch on the horizon.

After 43 games of mostly languishing on the bench, Blake Swihart’s agent has asked the team to trade him. It’s not an unfair request. The former top catching prospect in baseball has had a tumultuous run with the Boston Red Sox.

He cracked the majors in 2015 at the age of 23 after injuries to Christian Vazquez and Ryan Hanigan. His promotion was probably at least a year too early, and he struggled at the plate. At first.

His wRC+ in May of that year was just 39. It jumped to 86 in June, then 90 in July before exploding to 159 in August. It returned to Earth in September, leveling off at 95, but for a rushed catching prospect to show that kind of improvement month to month for most of the season was incredibly encouraging. So what happened?

When Christian Vazquez returned from Tommy John surgery, the team decided that he was the guy. With Sandy Leon on the roster, it was easiest to option Swihart and retain as much catching depth as possible. He likely needed more development time anyway.

But injuries struck again, this time to the outfield and Swihart (and his supreme athleticism) was moved to the outfield and called up again. Not long after that he crashed into the wall in left field and tore up his ankle. His 2016 season was over, and that injury would leave him with lingering pain through most of the following year as well.