Blake Swihart won’t be making any appearances in left field during the 2017 season, per a report from Rob Bradford of WEEI.com. In fact, the only place the Red Sox want to see him is behind the plate.
The 24-year-old will compete against fellow catchers Sandy Leon and Christian Vasquez for a starting role during spring training. He was named the Opening Day catcher in 2016, but was demoted within the month and moved to left field upon his return to the majors in late May. His season came to a premature end in early June after Swihart suffered a severe left ankle sprain on a bad outfield catch.
Despite the uncertainty around Boston’s catching situation in 2017, one thing remains clear: they don’t want to part with any of their three backstops, at least for the time being. The Arizona Republic’s Nick Piecoro revealed that the Diamondbacks had asked about Swihart and Vasquez, but were told that the Red Sox were unwilling to deal either catcher this offseason. None of Boston’s young catchers have proven track records behind the plate just yet, and until they do, it makes sense for the club to keep their options open as they head into 2017.
Free agent right-hander Yovani Gallardo is headed back to the Brewers on a major league deal, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports. No other terms have been reported yet, as the agreement is still pending a physical.
Gallardo, 31, completed a one-year run with the Mariners before getting his $13 million option declined by the team last month. He provided little value during his time in Seattle, pitching to a 5-10 record in 22 starts and putting up a 5.72 ERA, 4.1 BB/9 and 6.5 SO/9 in 130 2/3 innings as both a starter and reliever.
Still, assuming the veteran righty is on the cusp of a comeback, he may as well try for it with his original club. Gallardo last appeared for the Brewers from 2007 to 2014, racking up a cumulative 20.8 fWAR and peaking during the 2010 season, when he earned his first All-Star nomination and Silver Slugger award. This will be his ninth career season with the club.
Even with Gallardo aboard, the Brewers are expected to continue deepening their pitching stores for 2018. With team ace Jimmy Nelson still recovering from shoulder surgery, the club will enter the season with a projected rotation of Gallardo, Zach Davies, Chase Anderson and Junior Guerra, the latter of whom pitched just 70 1/3 innings in 2017 following a right calf strain and shin contusion. Another big name pitcher could help cement Milwaukee’s rotation and keep them competitive for another year, though they don’t appear to have made any concrete moves in that direction so far.