By: Tom Cloutier
The Boston Red Sox Re-Signed 1B Mitch Moreland to a two-year, $13 million deal...to mixed reviews.
Mitchy Two Bags is staying Boston for another two years. This was the first move of Boston's utterly silent offseason thus far, and his unceremonious re-signing was met with many sarcastic responses:
I like this deal. A team friendly contract leaves a lot of room to still sign a power-bat and doesn't lock the Red Sox into any deal long term. Is Moreland the answer the Red Sox need? Obviously not, since he was part of the problem last year. After starting off decent, his average dropped from .257 in the first half of the season down to .231 in the second half. He is a defensive first baseman, winning a Gold Glove in 2016 and being named a finalist this named season. Moreland is only the first move in acquiring more talent.
With the re-signing of Moreland, the Red Sox have implicitly declared their interest in Eric Hosmer completely dead. I didn't believe Hosmer was the answer the Red Sox needed either. He had a career year in his walk year, but hasn't been a force at the plate for most of his career. He could reel in $130+ million, which is an expensive gamble on a guy, who before this year, only put up marginally better numbers than Moreland, who the Sox just signed for 1/10th the price.
I hope this means the Red Sox are now pushing all their chips in on JD Martinez. He's someone I certainly wouldn't mind giving $130+ million to, though he may fetch even more. To be fair, like Hosmer, Martinez had a career year in a walk year, the difference is that Martinez's career was already much better than Hosmer's and his career year was extraordinary. Martinez had a 1.066 OPS in 2017, Behind Mike Trout (who finished #1 in the MLB) and ahead of both Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton. The Red Sox are desperate for power and Martinez has the hot bat they need. He's been a solid hitter in years prior with a .908, .879, and .912 OPS in the last three seasons.
With the outfield full at Fenway, Martinez would likely DH for the Red Sox, leaving Hanley's role with the team in question. The best play would be to platoon him at first base with Moreland. Hanley's pat can still get some time in the lineup, and if he figures out how to hit again, he can get more playing time. Dealing Hanley would be the preferred outcome, but it's difficult to see a team wanting to take on such a heavy contract with little production.
The decision on whether or not to be happy with the Moreland deal can't be answered at first glance. It really depends on what it allows the Red Sox to do, and what the Red Sox actually do with the cap space freedom Moreland affords. Moreland is by no means the solution to the Red Sox offensive issues, but if his signing helps them land the man who is, I'm all in.
Image Source: (The Boston Globe)