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April 16, 2019

MLB Rumors: Will Phillies take a chance on Blake Swihart, upgrade at catcher?

If you've watched the Phillies over their last few games, it's hard to ignore the fact that Andrew Knapp has had quite a few extremely meaningful at bats.

They haven't gone so well.

The Phils backup veteran catcher has just one hit in 14 at bats over two starts and a bunch of pinch hit appearances. 

Six times thus far the 27-year-old came to the plate with runners in scoring position and two outs and in none of those at bats did he get a hit. He has a 50 percent strikeout rate and just Monday he failed to contribute as a pinch hitter (though he did draw his second walk of the year) as the Phillies fell in extras to the Mets. 

The Phillies are 9-6 on the year, but 2-6 when Knapp gets an at bat.

While the bullpen and starting rotation are undeniably the Phillies' biggest current issues, a potential upgrade may have just fallen into the team's lap.

Swihart was once among the top prospects in baseball and the Red Sox' one-time catcher-of-the-future has been "designated for assignment" — or sent down to the minors. However, lacking minor league options the fifth-year pro will need to clear waivers. The Phillies, if they want to and if he gets through to their spot on the waiver wire, could place a claim on him and add him to their 25-man roster.

 Games BARBI 
 Andrew Knapp148 .222
Blake Swihart205 .255

Swihart is also 27, and has a better batting average and fewer errors in 57 more games played in MLB. He is having a down year, hitting jut .231 through his first 12 games but his numbers in 2019 are still better than Knapp's. 

Perhaps the catcher could use a change of scenery. And maybe it's time for the Phillies, who are overflowing with potential, to make their first upgrade of the regular season. The move could upgrade the Phils bench too, which has not been particularly impressive:

Swihart has a .280 batting average over his career as a pinch hitter, and .317 when he enters the game midway through as a sub.

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