The reigning World Series MVP is now a free agent. Will and should the Red Sox bring him back?
Featured image courtesy of Zimbio.com (Oct. 27, 2018 – Source: Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images North America)
When the Red Sox traded for Steve Pearce way back on June 28, everybody knew they were getting an experienced journeyman who could provide some pop off the bench against lefties. What everybody didn’t know is that they were getting an ideal leader, a certified Yankee killer, and a future World Series MVP. After all he provided this year, should the Sox try to keep him or let him walk?
Case for Bringing Pearce Back
What’s not to like about this guy? He is an ultimate teammate who shows up everyday and does his job. He is a source of great leadership and experience in the young Red Sox clubhouse. And by the way, he’s a pretty good player too. He batted .279 with seven home runs, 26 RBIs and a .901 OPS in 50 games with the Red Sox this season. He also made some really nice plays at first base when he got a chance to play there.
I think I’m forgetting something. Oh right, the playoffs. Pearce played in 13 games for the Red Sox this postseason, and he tallied 11 hits, four home runs, and 11 RBIs. He put up a very impressive slash line of .289/.426/.658 as well. Not to mention that three of those home runs and eight of those RBIs came on the biggest stage against the Dodgers in the World Series.
Also, unlike other Red Sox free agents, Pearce will not be expecting a big payday. As an aging role player, I foresee a 2-year deal worth $8-10 million per year at most. He may even take a pay cut to stay with the team he grew up rooting for. It would not surprise me to see him sign an almost identical deal that Mitch Moreland signed with the Sox a year ago (2 yrs/$13M).
Even at 35, Pearce could still be a solid role player for a few more seasons before he calls it a career, and every team needs that reliable guy to step in throughout the season and perform. There is no better guy to fit that description than Steve Pearce.
Case Against Bringing Pearce Back
There is really no true argument against bringing your World Series MVP back for cheap money, especially when he loves the team and is a good leader as well. The only real case is that the Sox already have an everyday first baseman in Mitch Moreland who is signed through next season. They may not want to pay an equal or higher price for his backup when they have guys like Sam Travis who could provide the backup first baseman role.
Also, if Pearce demands a larger contract such as $12-15 million per year, which I don’t think he will, the team will more than likely not want to spend that much money on a role player.
Pearce is streaky as well. As hot as he was in the playoffs, he can have equally cold spells, such as his stretch in August where he batted just .147 over a 14 game stretch.
Overall though, there is a very thin argument against re-signing Pearce.
The Red Sox should absolutely keep Steve Pearce. He will more than likely be cheap, he is a grinder who brings everything he has day in and day out, and he is an experienced leader in the locker room. The rest of the team loves him, and he became such a key part of the amazing 2018 Red Sox, despite only being there for half the season.
The tandem of Pearce and Moreland at first base worked really well this year, as Moreland hits righties better and Pearce hits lefties better. There’s no reason to not try and replicate that next season. Furthermore, there will more than likely be nobody on the market who can match Pearce’s contributions to the team on and off the field for as low of a price.
Whether or not Pearce returns, the 2018 World Series MVP has left his mark as a Red Sox legend forever.
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