The agent for Blake Swihart, a former top prospect who has battled injuries and struggled to find playing time with the Red Sox, has requested that his client be traded out of Boston.
Agent Brodie Scoffield told NBC Sports Boston on Tuesday that he has informed the Red Sox of his trade wish for Swihart, who has just 32 plate appearances this season.
“We’ve had conversations with the team, and they’re aware of how we feel,” Scoffield told NBC Sports Boston. “Blake’s in a really difficult position. We’ve got a switch-hitter, offensive impact player, and his bat deserves a chance to be in the lineup.
“Blake’s not the type of player that’s going to ask or demand a trade (on his own). He’s focused on what’s in front of him and happy having a positive impact on the team and the situation at hand. That being said, I don’t think we’re building any type of trade value, nor helping him progress as a ballplayer, nor is the team really being served by him in this role.”
Swihart, 26, was a first-round draft pick in 2011 and was rated by Baseball America as the No. 17 overall prospect in 2015. But he has not had an established defensive position with the Red Sox, who moved him from catcher to outfield in 2016 before shifting him to a utility role this year.
Red Sox manager Alex Cora said during spring training that he envisioned Swihart in a “super utility” role, similar to Houston’s Marwin Gonzalez.
But Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski referred to Swihart as a “third catcher” Tuesday prior to Scoffield’s comments, telling reporters that “the reality is, your 25th player usually doesn’t play that much anyway.”
Scoffield also cited the pending return of injured second baseman Dustin Pedroia, which likely would move Eduardo Nunez and Brock Holt into utility roles and potentially lead to Swihart’s demotion to the minors.
“With Dustin Pedroia returning, it seems now would be the time to make a move with Blake,” Scoffield said.
Swihart showed promise as a rookie in 2015, when he batted .274 with five home runs in 84 games. But injuries and a diminished role have limited Swihart to just 40 combined games with Boston over the last three seasons. He is batting .138 (4 for 29) in 15 games this year, receiving scattered playing time at first base, designated hitter and left field.
“We’re talking about Blake being the Marwin Gonzalez of the Red Sox,” Scoffield said. “We’re talking about ground balls at second base, we’re taking ground balls at third base, we’re in the outfield, we’re catching. But none of that’s materialized.
“And so it’s mixed messages. It’s an undefined role for a player that can catch, that can hit, and whose athleticism allows him to move all around the diamond.”