The Red Sox have announced they have re-signed 32-year-old first baseman, Mitch Moreland to a two-year, $13M deal.
What are you doing Dave? This deal surprises me, as well as many others I’m willing to bet. The signing of Moreland means no Eric Hosmer to Boston. I was never fully in favor of the Sox signing Hosmer, especially with Scott Boras being his agent and knowing how high the contract could potentially be, but the move to re-sign Moreland seems too conservative.
The Red Sox entered the offseason needing legitimate power in their lineup. Since the move of Giancarlo Stanton to the Yankees, the need for power is even more important. Moreland hit 22 HRs, slugged .443, and had an OPS of .769. Hosmer hit 25 HR, had a slugging percentage of .498, and had a .882 OPS. Ever since Hosmer’s name has been linked to the Red Sox, with Dombrowski saying he was interested in both The Hos and JD Martinez, people have been talking about the similar numbers of Hosmer and Moreland. Yes, their numbers are fairly similar in the power category, Hosmer having the edge however. But Hosmer also hit .318 and drove in 94 runs. Moreland hit just .246 and drove in 79 runs.
Moreland exceeded the expectations of his contract last season in his one-year deal with the Sox. He was a welcomed bright spot and extra base hitter in the Sox lineup that resisted power last year. But at 32-years-old the potential and ceiling is not nearly as high as Hosmer’s. Dombrowski has made little-to-no noise thus far in the offseason, when it was expected the Sox could make a splash. Instead, it has been the Yankees and Angels making the big-time moves. And although Moreland did pitch in one game this year, facing five batters in one inning, he’s no two-way star like Shohei Ohtani, who the Red Sox also attempted to pursue, but were not a finalist for destination for Ohtani, as he signed with the Angels.
Now the Red Sox will absolutely have to sign Martinez if they want any shot of winning the AL East for the third straight year. Think of it this way: Due up for the NY Yankees is Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Gary Sanchez. That’s the middle of their order. The middle of the Red Sox order as of right now: Mookie Betts (coming off a disappointing 2017 campaign), Hanley Ramirez, and Mitch Moreland. Yeah I don’t see any good in that either.
I assume the Red Sox will now make a major push for JD Martinez. One red flag I see is that Martinez is coming off the best year of his MLB career, while in his contract year. The contract year motivation, followed by the season after inking a long-term, massive dollar contract is very concerning. However, the Red Sox have the money and they will need to make this signing for JD to remain competitive in the AL East with the Yankees. I’ll tell you one thing, I would not be happy to watch the Bronx Bombers slug the Red Sox to defeat time and time again, so something needs to be done. The Red Sox have the money, it’s time to utilize it and sign Martinez.
Signing both Martinez and Hosmer this offseason would have made this Red Sox lineup very tough to face for opposing pitchers, but now they’re settling for Mitch Moreland. The Red Sox faithful need to hope Dombrowski can now strike a deal to bring Martinez to Boston.