Phillies rumors: Should team be interested in Blake Swihart?
The Red Sox designated backup catcher and utility player Blake Swihart for assignment Tuesday. Should the Phillies be interested?
While the Phillies have an established starting catcher in J.T. Realmuto, Andrew Knapp is not a standout option as a backup. So far this year Knapp has just one hit and two walks in 14 plate appearances, striking out seven times. He has barely played this season, although that should change soon given the team is amid 17 straight games without a day off.
Knapp wasn’t great last year either, posting a .198/.294/.316 line with a 68 wRC+ in 84 games. Plus, his defense wasn’t good either, ranking 102nd out of 117 catchers in fielding runs above average.
As it stands now, Philadelphia could stand to make an upgrade at backup catcher. An option may have arisen Tuesday as the Red Sox designated Blake Swihart for assignment. Could he be an improvement over Knapp on the bench?
More from That Balls Outta Here
- Prospect Andrew Baker could help Phillies bullpen in 2023
- Bryce Harper’s absence should lead to Phillies lineup tinkering
- Phillies rumors: Club targets Seth Lugo for possible bullpen role
- Pirates’ bizarre Vince Velasquez hype video will make Phillies fans laugh
- Acquiring Brandon Marsh gave the Phillies flexibility
Swihart has not been great offensively so far this year, although he still has been better than Knapp. In 12 games, Swihart has a .231/.310/.385 line and a 86 wRC+. His best numbers came in his rookie year back in 2015 when he had five home runs, 31 runs batted in, and a .712 OPS in 84 games.
The Red Sox struggled to find time for Swihart in the starting lineup as he was a defensive liability. In 960 innings at catcher, he has -19 defensive runs saved and has caught 27% of opposing base stealers, three percent below the league average.
Swihart offers more positional versatility as he has spent time in the corner outfield positions and even third base.
Considering Scott Kingery is the only backup infielder on the roster now, it can’t hurt to add Swihart to the mix there. However, Swihart does not grade out well at the positions he has played.
Would Swihart be that large of an upgrade from Knapp? Probably not, but his offensive ceiling does warrant some consideration. He could be worth taking a chance on if the team wants to move on from Knapp.