In somewhat of an unexpected development, the Boston Red Sox have re-signed first baseman Mitch Moreland to a two-year contract, signaling that the MLB team is likely no longer interested in pursuing Kansas City Royals free agent Eric Hosmer.
The deal for more Moreland is said to be worth about $13 million, plus incentives.
After seven years with the Texas Rangers, Moreland, 32, who enjoys a reputation as a great teammate, signed a one-year deal with the Sox in 2017, and he finished the season with a.246 batting average, recording 22 home runs, 34 doubles, and 79 RBI in the process.
“With Moreland back in the fold, he and his excellent defensive reputation figure to be at first base on a regular basis,” MLB Trade Rumors noted. As things stand now, designated hitter Hanley Ramirez may give the lefty Moreland a day off at first base against lefty pitchers from time to time, assuming the team doesn’t make any roster moves affecting Ramirez in the coming weeks.
The Moreland signing suggests that Hosmer may wind up with the San Diego Padres or stay put with the Royals.
By all accounts, the offensively-challenged Sox are also said to be very interested in free agent outfielder J.D. Martinez, who had a career year in 2017, blasting 45 home runs and driving in 104 runs in a season split between the Detroit Tigers and the Arizona Diamondbacks. A Martinez signing could mean that the Sox would have to part ways with one of their “killer Bs” outfielders, namely Jackie Bradley Jr. President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski has a high regard for Martinez, who could also DH, from his days as Tigers’ boss.
Dombrowski admitted that the team looked at other candidates for the first base position before getting back in contact with Moreland’s agent, NBC Sports Boston explained.
“We liked the job that Mitch did for us last year. We knew he wanted to come back here. We wanted to explore some other options, which they were aware [of], and so we did that.”
— Red Sox (@RedSox) December 18, 2017
With rookie manager Alex Cora, the former Houston Astros bench coach, the Boston Red Sox begin the 2018 season without having to immediately leave Florida after Spring Training, with a four-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays commencing on March 29. The Sox won the American League East last year although they were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the eventual World Series champion Astros. Even with their offensive woes, the Sox had an amazing 15 extra-inning victories in last year’s campaign. This time around, they will have their hands full competing in the AL East with the New York Yankees, especially given the powerhouse tandem of Aaron Judge and former Miami Marlins’ superstar Giancarlo Stanton.
Mitch Moreland: "I love playing here. I love the guys, everything about it … Looking forward to being back and maybe taking care of some unfinished business."
— Boston.com Red Sox News (@BDCSox) December 18, 2017
Mitch Moreland leads AL first basemen in defensive runs saved (17) and ultimate zone rating (10.3) in the last 2 seasons (source: FanGraphs). He joins José Abreu as the only AL first basemen with 20+ homers and 20+ doubles in each of the last 3 seasons.
— Red Sox Notes (@SoxNotes) December 18, 2017
Reminder that Mitch Moreland was one of the only effective Red Sox in this year's ALDS:
– BA .385
– reached base in 7/15 plate appearances
– 2 doubles
– 4 runs scored
— Gabrielle (@gfstarr1) December 18, 2017