#RedSox Acquire Minor League Outfielder Marcus Wilson from Arizona Diamondbacks in Exchange for Blake Swihart

Three days after designating him for assignment, the Red Sox have traded catcher/utility man Blake Swihart as well as international amateur signing bonus pool space to the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for minor league outfielder Marcus Wilson. Both clubs made the deal official Friday.

Swihart, 27, had been with the Red Sox organization since he was selected with the 26th overall pick in the 2011 amateur draft.

With Arizona, Swihart will now join a team with some familiar faces in Diamondbacks general manager Mike Hazen and manager Torey Lovullo, who were both with the Red Sox last.

Entering the 2019 season as Boston’s second catcher behind Christian Vazquez, the New Mexico native slashed .231/.310/.385 with one home run and four RBI over 29 plate appearances before being DFA’d this past week.

Since he could really never latch on to an everyday role while with the Red Sox, it would be nice to see if Swihart could become a more established player in the desert, where he’ll be closer to home.

On the other side of this deal, Marcus Wilson was a second round selection (69th overall pick) of the Dbacks out of Juniperra Serra High School in Gardena, Ca. back in 2014.

Listed at 6’3″ and 175 lbs. and ranked as Arizona’s 20th best prospect on MLB.com, the 22-year-outfielder slashed .235/.350/.529 to go along with two home runs and seven runs driven in 12 games this season with the Southern League’s Jackson Generals, the Double-A affiliate of the Diamondbacks.

Now assigned to the Portland Sea Dogs, Wilson will join a crowded outfield consisting of names like Keith Curcio, Tate Matheny, Joseph Monge, Aneury Tavarez, and Luke Tendler up in Maine.

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#RedSox Designate Blake Swihart for Assignment

In a move that seemingly came out of nowhere, the Red Sox have reportedly designated catcher/utility man Blake Swihart for assignment, according to WEEI’s Evan Drellich.

Swihart, 27, just started behind the plate for Boston on Monday, where he went 0-for-2 with a walk. On the 2019 season as a whole, the backstop is slashing .231/.310/.385 with one home run and four RBI over 12 games played.

This transaction comes less than 24 hours after it was revealed that reliever Marcus Walden had been optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket, so as things stand right now, the Red Sox’ active roster sits at 23.

Among those 23 players remains just one catcher in Christian Vazquez, who actually looked solid in his first big league start at second base on Monday.

So, with that in mind, expect Sandy Leon’s contract to be purchased by the Red Sox in the coming hours.

After being designated for assignment himself and then accepting an assignment to the PawSox in March, Leon, 30, is just 3-for-25 with one walk and six strikeouts in seven minor league games this season.

As for Swihart, it was clear that he never had the full backing from the Red Sox from the start. He’ll likely be claimed by another club very soon given his talent level, and his playing days in Boston will come to a close.

It was a sad saga, really. Once touted as the top catching prospect in the Red Sox’ farm system, to suffering a season-ending ankle injury as a left fielder back in 2016.

Before the start of this season, it looked as though Swihart was finally going to be able to showcase his catching capabilities in a larger role with Leon getting DFA’d. But, just a few weeks after making the club’s Opening Day roster as the second catcher behind Vazquez, the Red Sox have decided to move on.

This transaction will come with plenty of scrutiny, there’s no doubt about that. However, if Leon does make his return to Boston’s 25-man roster, then perhaps he can provide some stability to what has been a trying time for the Red Sox’ pitching staff so far this season.

 

#RedSox Activate Dustin Pedroia from 10-Day Injured List, Option Tzu-Wei Lin to Triple-A Pawtucket

The Red Sox have activated second baseman Dustin Pedroia from the 10-day injured list ahead of their home opener against the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday. To make room on the 25-man roster, utility man Tzu-Wei Lin was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket in a corresponding move.

The club made the transaction official earlier Tuesday morning.

Pedroia, 35, completed his three-game rehab stint with the Class A Greenville Drive this past Sunday, where he went 3-for-9 with one double, one run scored, and a pair of walks to go along with a handful of defensive plays as well.

President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said Monday that whether or not Pedroia would be activated for Boston’s home opener would be dependent on how the infielder was feeling Tuesday morning.

Now, with Pedroia being activated from the injured list, it appears that all systems are a go, as the four-time All-Star bats seventh and starts at second for the Red Sox in their 12th game of the 2019 season.

Having only played in a total of three games since the end of the 2017 campaign, it wouldn’t be too surprising if Pedroia is out for vengeance this year in what will be his 14th season in the majors. Whether or not he can stay on the field, though, is also something to pay attention to.

Again, first pitch Tuesday against the Blue Jays is scheduled for 2:05 PM EDT.

Former #RedSox Closer Craig Kimbrel Will Not Be in Attendance for Tuesday’s Ring Ceremony, Says Team President and CEO Sam Kennedy

Earlier last week, Red Sox president and CEO Sam Kennedy extended a formal invitation to former closer Craig Kimbrel to attend the club’s Opening Day festivities at Fenway Park on Tuesday.

Fast forward to Monday, the day before Boston’s home opener, and Kennedy told reporters that Kimbrel will in fact not be in attendance, as he does not want to cause any distractions.

MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo has the full quote from Kennedy:

Kimbrel, who of course won a World Series with the Red Sox in 2018, has yet to sign a contract with a big league club and remains a free agent.

When the report first popped up that the 30-year-old hurler could make an appearance at Fenway to receive his World Series ring, my initial reaction was that if you’re Dave Dombrowski, you can’t let that man leave without a contract offer.

Now, as we talk about the Red Sox bullpen 11 games into the new season, things do not as dire as many expected them to be. That much is highlighted by both Matt Barnes and Ryan Brasier owning an ERA of 0.00 in eight combined appearances so far this year.

Still, one of the more elite relievers baseball has seen should be contributing in a major league bullpen right about now. We’ll have to wait and see if that happens anytime soon though, especially with a compensatory draft pick potentially on the line for the Red Sox.

Any way, first pitch against the Toronto Blue Jays is scheduled for 2:05 PM EDT on Tuesday at Fenway Park, with pregame festivities kicking off the day at 1 PM EDT.

#RedSox Officially Announce Six-Year Extension for Xander Bogaerts

After hammering out the final details and agreements Sunday night, the Red Sox officially announced Monday that they had signed shortstop Xander Bogaerts to a six-year, $120 million contract extension through the 2025 season. The club tweeted the following to make it official.

Bogaerts, 26, will in fact still earn the $12 million he is due in 2019 before the new contract goes into effect beginning next year.

According to the Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, the six-year pact includes two key components, with the first being an opt-out after the 2022 season, and the second being a $20 million vesting option for 2026, as long as Bogaerts compiles at least 535 plate appearances and is healthy at the end of the 2025 campaign.

Originally set to become a free agent this winter, the Aruba native will look to provide the Red Sox with solid offensive and defensive production for the forseeable future.

Four games into his sixth full season with the club, the two-time World Series champion and one-time American League All-Star is 3/16 with one double, one home run, and one RBI.

As things stand right now, the $20 million average annual value of Bogaerts’ new deal would make him the highest paid shortstop in all of baseball in 2020.

A press conference regarding Bogaerts’ extension with the Red Sox is scheduled for later Monday out in Oakland.

#RedSox and Xander Bogaerts Finalizing Seven-Year, $132 Million Contract Extension

Eight days after locking up ace left-hander Chris Sale for the next five seasons, it appears that the Red Sox have locked up another key piece who was set to hit free agency later this year in shortstop Xander Bogaerts, per WEEI’s Evan Drellich.

Meanwhile, ESPN’s Jeff Passan is reporting that Bogaerts’ potential contract extension with Boston will be worth $132 million over seven seasons. That averages out to approximately $18.6 million per year.

Passan also notes that the extension starts this season, presumably meaning that Bogaerts’ initial $12 million pact for 2019 will be ripped up. The deal will also include an opt-out.

A client os super agent Scott Boras, Bogaerts, 26, was set to become a free agent for the first time later this winter, but now appears to be a key member of the Red Sox infield for years to come.

Making his big league debut in 2013, the Aruba native has appeared in 762 games with Boston, tallying 75 home runs and 387 RBI over that time to go along with a career .283/.342/.429 slash line, one All-Star appearance, and two World Series titles.

Given that Opening Day was this past Thursday, I must say that I am honestly shocked this sort of deal got done at the time it did.

Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said at himself during the Chris Sale press conference last week.

“I think as far as negotiations are concerned I think it’s usually wise to stop on Opening Day because you don’t want to be a distraction,” Dombrowski said. “You want them focused and putting up the best numbers they can and win a championship.”

And less than two full weeks after that statement was made, the Red Sox are finalizing an extension with Xander Bogaerts as we speak.

This deal is not official yet, so I will provide more details as they come sometime tomorrow.

#RedSox Catcher Sandy Leon Accepts Assignment to Triple-A Pawtucket

After clearing waivers and being outrighted from the Red Sox’ 40-man roster on Tuesday, catcher Sandy Leon accepted his assignment to Triple-A Pawtucket on Thursday. The club made the official announcement earlier.

Leon, 30, will now report to the PawSox and look to provide Boston with depth at the Triple-A level, which is something I would have to assume the team is happy about.

Since he remained in the organization through Opening Day, the backstop’s $2.475 million salary for 2019 is now guaranteed and will count towards Boston’s luxury tax.

Well respected by the Red Sox pitching staff, the possibility remains that Leon could be dealt if he impresses in the minors and another club feels the need to acquire a backup-caliber catcher.

Leon will join the likes of 29-year-old ex-Rangers backstop Juan Centeno, who signed a minor-league pact with Boston last November, down in Pawtucket.

Together, the pair have racked up exactly 1460 big league plate appearances since 2012, so they should provide some solid depth behind Christian Vazquez and Blake Swihart and be solid injury fill-ins if necessary.