Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Sox shake things up and it looks good

Mary Schwalm / Associated Press

The Red Sox have shaken up the roster a little bit in the last few days. Blake Swihart was sent down to AAA and Christian Vazquez was recalled.

The rest of the moves were with pitchers. Noe Ramirez was sent down and Heath Hembree was called up and pitched well in his first appearance, throwing 3.2 innings and striking out four. Joe Kelly was also added to the 15 day DL with a shoulder injury.

Other than Kelly going to the DL, I like all these moves, especially bringing Vazquez up, even if it seems early after his Tommy John surgery. Vazquez helps the pitching staff so much from behind the plate. You can tell just by watching him. He gets more strikes, handles the staff better, and keeps everything in front of him. He also controls the running game as well as any catcher in the big leagues.

Vazquez certainly ins't the hitter Swihart is though. Swihart finished this stint with Boston slashing .278/.391/.278. Vazquez only hit .240 last season.

However, the runs Vazquez saves and the confidence he brings to the pitching staff outweighs his lack of offensive production. The pitching staff is allowing an average of just three runs in Vazquez's three starts so far.

There was also some weird news and rumors going around when Swihart was sent down. He was working out at left field, but John Farrell said he wasn't considering a position change. There were also trade rumors, which I could see happening as well.

I don't hate moving Swihart to left field. The Sox are using the very inconsistent platoon of Brock Holt and Chris Young in left right now. Swihart would bring some stability to that position and a better bat. We know Swihart is athletic enough to play there as well, since he did a little bit before he caught. Hopefully we'll see Swihart and his bat back in a Red Sox uniform soon.