The Boston Red Sox are officially reuniting with first baseman Mitch Moreland, who hit 22 homers in Boston last year, his first in a Red Sox uniform. The more interesting part of the move, however, may be what it says about Boston’s offseason plans going forward.
Are they out on Eric Hosmer? Hosmer, also a first baseman, is one of the top free agents on the market and the Red Sox are one of the teams usually willing to throw nine figures at a big free agent. The market for Hosmer hasn’t fully developed yet, but it’s looking like the Red Sox are content to let it pass them by if they’ve got Moreland and Hanley Ramirez on their roster.
The Red Sox announced their deal with Moreland on Monday, re-upping with the 32-year-old for two years and $6.5 million each season. He was good but not great for Boston — his .246 batting average and .326 on-base percentage weren’t fantastic, but 22 homers and 79 RBIs were pretty good. Here’s how the Moreland deal came to be, according to Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston:
Dave Dombrowski: “We’ve stayed in contact with Mitch’s representative really all offseason. … We wanted to explore some other options, which they were aware, and so we did that.”
“We really picked up the pace moreso … on Friday really was the day."
— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) December 18, 2017
The Red Sox were a good team last year, winning the AL East and finishing 93-69. What they lacked was power. Mookie Betts’ 24 homers were the most on the team. Ramirez had 23 and Moreland’s 22 ranked third. As a whole, they ranked 27th in the league, down there with teams like the San Francisco Giants and Atlanta Braves.
So maybe Hosmer doesn’t make a ton of sense if he’s going to cost more than $100 million. While he’s proven himself a valuable player in Kansas City, he’s not going to be Big Papi Jr. He averages 20 homers per year.
Perhaps this reveals Boston’s plan: Keep Moreland at a relatively cheap price and go after the biggest slugger on the free-agent market: outfielder J.D. Martinez, who hit 45 homers last season.
Whatever the Red Sox’s plan is, there has to be more if they’re hoping to power up to match the new-look Yankees.
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