Did anyone see this coming? With Mitch Moreland agreeing to terms with the Red Sox, the 2018 landscape is finally beginning to take shape for the boys of the summer. Mitchie Two Bags will be under contract until he’s 34, and considering the so-so free agent draft class at first base this offseason, there’s reason to be optimistic.
Eric Hosmer is the best talent available at the position, but given the seven year demands of Scott Boras, Boston may have dodged a bullet. Negating Hosmer, the Gold Glove winning Moreland is as much of a sure thing you could muster out of the available options, which included Logan Morrison, Yonder Alonso, Matt Adams and Lucas Duda. He set career highs his first year with Boston in OBP, SLG, doubles, walks, and runs scored. Had he not been forced to play through a fractured toe in the middle of the summer, his numbers could have been even greater.
Since announcing the two year agreement, the rumor mill is churning, and word is that Hanley is being actively shopped. Big surprise, they can’t seem to find a suitable trade partner. With J.D. Martinez saying he’s open to a DH role, it would seem that Dombrowski is angling towards moving Ramirez, giving JDM the full time DH spot in the order, and standing pat. The only wrinkle that has been suggested is also moving Jackie Bradley, but Dombrowski quickly shot that down last week at the meetings.
It’s possible that Boston will go into 2018 with the same lineup as ’17, sans Hanley, plus JDM. Is that enough to pull off a third consecutive division title? Probably not, especially since Pedey and E-Rod will be opening the season on the disabled list. On the plus side, you’ll have a full year of Rafy Devers, and Andrew Benintendi surely will improve upon his rookie campaign.
Dombrowski after the signing: “We liked the job that Mitch did for us last year. we knew he wanted to come back here.”
Moreland’s a career .252 hitter, with 132 long ones, and 433 runs driven in.