The Red Sox are entering a fairly pivotal offseason. With a payroll that has ballooned, and a wish to get under the luxury tax thresholds, it is likely the team will be saying goodbye to a few well regarded players that were on the 2019 roster. This series will take a look at them. The first one up is first baseman, Mitch Moreland.
At the end of 2016, the Red Sox had a need for a first baseman. David Ortiz was set to retire at the end of that year, and it was likely that Hanley Ramirez would take up the designated hitter duties moving forward. The Red Sox didn’t really have anyone in the minors that could step in to a first base role. Instead, they looked outside of the organization.
Dave Dombrowski acted swiftly and signed Moreland to a one year $5.5 million dollar contract. The deal was struck at the beginning of December in 2016. Moreland had always been known for his Gold Glove defense with the Texas Rangers. He also added some more pop to the Red Sox lineup. It would be the beginning of three years with the Red Sox, though injuries would limit him in the final year. The Red Sox resigned Moreland to a $13 million 2 year contract after the 2017 season.
All told, Mitch Moreland was a productive player for the Red Sox. He had 56 home runs over the course of 364 games. Moreland slashed .247/.326/.455. He had a knack for hitting doubles with the Red Sox, and was affectionately dubbed “Mitch Two Bags” by Barstool Sports’ Jared Carrabis of the Section 10 podcast. He had 74 doubles during his time with the Red Sox.
Moreland wasn’t a star player for the Sox. However, he was a steady contributor throughout his time here and even played through some injuries, which Red Sox fans love. Unfortunately, it seems that his time may be coming to an end.
The Red Sox Fit
The Red Sox don’t quite have the payroll flexibility to keep Moreland around. It would be more of a luxury for the team at this point. The team has right handed, power hitting Bobby Dalbec waiting in Triple A. They could deem him ready for the big leagues. If that is the case, it is still possible Moreland finds his way back.
Moreland would be a decent platoon option, especially if Dalbec can’t hit the ground running in the MLB. Re-signing Moreland to a one year contract would make a ton of sense. It gives them a fallback option if something were to happen. That being said, it is still not necessary given the emergence of Michael Chavis this past season and what Dalbec could bring next season.
Other teams in the mix
There are some other teams that could sign Moreland away from the Red Sox. A notable team that has a hole at their first base position is the Milwaukee Brewers. Old friend Travis Shaw is the only guy that has first base experience on their roster. After Eric Thames left, and the trade of Jesus Aguilar, there is a need for a fresh face at first base for the Brew Crew.
Depending on what the Marlins are looking to do, they could use a first baseman to complement Garrett Cooper and provide veteran leadership. Odds are, it would be a one year contract with the idea of trading for more prospects to help their total rebuild. Mitch Moreland could help the a Marlins’ youngsters come along while providing a steady bat and glove at first base.
The Texas Rangers could also bring their old friend back into the fold. The team has opted to use Joey Gallo in the outfield, and a Ronald Guzman hasn’t shown what the team may have been hoping for. It is a tougher fit, given that Guzman is also a lefty. However, on a short term contract, it can make sense to help bring along Guzman.
No matter where Mitch Moreland may end up, he has done quite a bit in a decent career. Heading into his age 34 season, he has put up decent numbers, made some money and captured a World Series ring. He will be an asset to any team he goes to.
Check out our partners, Overtime Heroics!