Earlier in the week, the Red Sox made the shocking move of designating Blake Swihart for assignment. The move got Sandy León back up in the majors, and was almost certainly marking the end of Swihart era. Many people read that as blaming the catcher for Boston’s struggles thus far, which was an overly dramatic reading of the decision, but it certainly came out of nowhere and could have been too early to move on from the catcher. The good news, or at least better-ish news, is that they didn’t lose him for nothing. The Red Sox finalized a deal involving Swihart on Friday, sending the catcher to Arizona along with international pool money in exchange for minor-league outfielder Marcus Wilson.
The Boston #RedSox today traded C/UTIL Blake Swihart to the Arizona Diamondbacks along with international amateur signing bonus pool space in exchange for minor league OF Marcus Wilson.— Boston Red Sox (@RedSox) April 19, 2019
For the Swihart part of this, this destination makes sense given all of the former Red Sox executives in the Diamondbacks organization. Their front office is, of course, run by former Red Sox assistant GM Mike Hazen. They also have former Red Sox President of Amateur Scouting Amiel Sawdaye in a prominent role there, as well as Torey Lovullo, former Red Sox bench coach as their manager. The point being, they have a lot of people who are familiar with Swihart. However, those who want to see the former top prospect get regular playing time behind the dish will be disappointed, as the Diamondbacks are keeping their other two catchers and plan to play Swihart all over the field.
The Diamondbacks will also receive international pool money, which can be a valuable resource but not quite as much this late in the game. This signing period runs through the end of June, and the majority of top players have long been signed up. There can be diamonds in the rough found any time of year, but if you don’t have specific players in mind it makes sense to throw pool money in a deal if it gets back the return you want.
As for that return, Wilson could be a somewhat interesting name. The outfielder had some helium heading into last season as he entered High-A as a 21-year-old. Baseball Prospectus said in this year’s Diamondbacks top prospect list that they expected to have Wilson in their overall top 101 this season. However, the outfielder struggled mightily in 2018, trying to hit for more power but instead just making far less contact. The tools are there for some improvement, as he has athleticism and has shown solid on-base ability in the past. If the Red Sox can get Wilson to cut down on his strikeouts, even if it costs him some power, they could have a solid fourth outfielder type on their hands. Wilson has played in Double-A to start this season, and is probably likely to start back there since Jarren Duran is already occupying center field in High-A.