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Swihart Could Play First Base

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Boston Red Sox Might Try Blake Swihart Out At First Base In The Near Future

The Boston Red Sox are looking for something reliable at first base. Mitch Moreland has done fine by the terms of his contract, but his recent struggles might make for Boston to call for something more.

Sam Travis was an option, but he has just 25 at-bats in the last 28 games and was optioned back to Pawtucket. Travis’s struggles came against right-handed pitching where he hit .71 against in 14 at-bats. Now with third base being a priority upgrade, Boston will look within for the answer at first.

One candidate is Blake Swihart who is currently on the DL in Pawtucket. According to Manager John Farrell, Swihart will see time at third and first once activated.

“He’s been the on the DL because of the ankle issue, and as he gets back active, the stress of catching is not allowing him to catch as a regular everyday catcher. We’re going to begin to move him around the infield. He’s going to take groundballs at first, he’ll take some at third, he’ll still catch some. But the ankle is a limiting factor right now as far as how many games consecutively he can catch.”

Ahead of Farrell’s comments on Tuesday, Swihart was seen fielding ground balls at first base at McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket.

While Swihart moving to one of the hot corners is due to his ankle, in turn, it presents him as an option for Boston this season. With the Boston Red Sox struggling to find offensive production from their current lineup, Swihart could be a call-up after he returns to the PawSox lineup.

One thing that has always endeared Red Sox fans to Swihart is the hitting catcher aspect. A catcher who can hit 15-20 home runs a season and bat closer to .300. Something that a healthy Swihart could potentially do.

Swihart has had 350 at-bats in his major league career, almost a full seasons worth. And in that time he batted .271 with inconsistent playing time. His MLB OPS is .714 and in theory, he has yet to hit his ceiling for Boston.

With Moreland’s average plummeting to .251, Boston could seek a change at first base. Something they already seem to be considering with a Swihart try out at the position in AAA and with Hanley Ramirez now potentially getting playing time in the field.

While Swihart has yet to play the position, Boston has a history of feeling comfortable with Swihart starting at a new position with limited experience. When trying him at in left field, Swihart only played in 11 games in Pawtucket before a Major League call-up.

For the moment, it seems that it is still Moreland’s position to lose. With the veteran claiming his toe is fully healthy and now his focus is on fixing his mechanics.

Tanner founded Trifecta Network in Spring of 2016 and has been the Chief of Content for the Network since that time. Currently Tanner covers all the sports teams in Boston and has contacts in many of the teams in the city. Before starting Trifecta, Tanner was a Site Expert for the FanSided site Chowder and Champions before leaving to cover Boston teams on the ground as a member of the media for Trifecta.

Boston Red Sox

Boston Red Sox Do Not Need To Get A Big Bat

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Many have stated their wishes that the Boston Red Sox will go out and get a big-time bat for the heart of their order. A bat that they seemingly need to help protect the likes of Mookie Betts and Hanley Ramirez in the lineup. One of the bigger names connected to the team is Giancarlo Stanton, but reports show that idea as a longshot with Stanton not looking at Boston as a possibility.

Another name, Jose Abreu, is also reportedly out of the running with Ken Rosenthal reporting that the White Sox will not trade their slugger before the start of the season. With the potential list shortening with JD Martinez and Eric Hosmer leading the running, maybe Boston should sit still this offseason.

That is sort of a controversial take, but the notion of Hosmer or Martinez doesn’t get the juices flowing, and ultimately will cost the Red Sox more then they are worth.

So what is the answer, Boston still needs a first basemen for next season. A position that could be filled with Sam Travis and Hanley Ramirez given the idea that Dustin Pedroia will find some time at the DH spot next season with Eduardo Nunez getting some quality time at second base. Another possibility is Rafael Devers not panning out at third base and needing to move to first base or DH at times.

Also in the cards is prospect Michael Chavis who should find himself in AAA Pawtucket at some point next season and maybe in Boston at third base or first. Then comes the possibility of Blake Swihart or my favorite, Bryce Brentz. Both were getting trained at first base with Pawtucket last season and could see reps at first base if Dave Dombrowski opts to not sign a big-time bat.

Of course, these solutions are not as flashy and will not present an immediate threat for Boston in the heart of their order. But betting on the current roster to bounce back at the plate and see an emergence of another young player might be a route to take.

Worse case scenario they get the same amount of production and end up right around 90 wins like they were this past season. But the upside of keeping the financial flexibility going forward while trying out prospects might be the best thing for Boston to do instead of overreacting to fan pressure.

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Bottom Line: Boston Red Sox Need Stanton

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Boston Red Sox Team President Dave Dombrowski isn’t a great talent evaluator. Throughout his entire career, he has built his success by acquiring proven big league talent. Betting on that changing anytime soon is foolish, so why not make another move for proven talent?

Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins has long been rumored to be on the trade block and Boston is just one of his potential destinations. Reports have stated thought that Stanton would prefer a trade to a team like the Dodgers despite “advisers” pushing for Boston.

The Stanton vs Judge potential is enough to get any baseball fans heart racing. But should Boston present Miami a god offer? Some have balked at the potential of trading any more prospects but let me tell you a very well known secret, Boston’s farm system has been pillaged. Jay Groome and Michael Chavis are considered the best two prospects remaining under Dombrowski.

So any thought of depleting the farm system anymore should be tossed out the window as there isn’t much left there, to begin with. On top of that, the current makeup of the team and the organization is winning now, a strategy that is far from working given the current talent in the lineup. Last season the Red Sox lacked true pop in their lineup after the retirement of David Ortiz. Many at the time sold it as the 2015 Royals who nickeled and dimed their way to a world series title. But when it came down to it the 2017 Boston Red Sox lacked balls.

Boston needs a power bat in the heart of their order. Not just for the home runs from that player, but for the protection they would offer the other hitters in the lineup. If you were a pitcher facing the Red Sox last season almost every hitter in the lineup could be pitched too. The only exception might be Hanley Ramirez, but the BIG HR simply was set up to fail to have to step in for Ortiz with no protection around him.

Stanton would instantly bring in pop, lineup protection, and the much needed “it” factor that will help drive fans to the team. Without this type of move, it is hard to see how next season will be any different.

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Minimum Expectations for the 2018 Red Sox

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Last year, it was Chris Sale; in 2016, the exorbitantly expensive David Price was all the hype. Both of these roundly heralded saviors produced the same underwhelming results. Another short-winded trip to the playoffs; another bummer of a year.

The Red Sox simply cannot afford a third consecutive first-round exit, in the 2018 postseason. And it seems that Dave Dombrowski knows this. In an attempt to prevent car-flipping anarchy in the streets, he fired the overseer of all this recent failure (his direct subordinate) – John Farrell.

Now the Sox will be heading into next season with a newfangled remedy. No, it’s not a hundred-million dollar player. This time around, management has received the upgrade. It’s the newly hired manager, Alex Cora, who will be charged with the burden of resurrecting one of the most venerated franchises in professional sports.

On Monday, Cora was formally introduced to Boston as the new manager (or scapegoat).

Good luck, buddy! You’re gonna need it.  

Should Boston fans really expect an appreciable change to be affected by just one man? After all, this is exactly what we’ve done, to no avail, for the past few years. And if Cora really represents the end-all-be-all solution, what is a realistic accomplishment for him, and his club, in the first season of his tenure?

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