No team has had a busier Tuesday than the Boston Red Sox. As an encore to pulling off trades for Tyler Thornburg and Chris Sale, Boston reached an agreement with free agent first baseman Mitch Moreland on a one-year contract worth $5.5 million. The deal will be completed pending a physical.
Sources: #RedSox in agreement with free agent Mitch Moreland on one-year deal, pending physical.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 6, 2016
Mitch Moreland Signs with Red Sox
Boston’s top three needs entering the offseason were a setup man, another starting pitcher, and a left-handed power bat to help replace the production lost when David Ortiz retired. After signing Moreland, they’ve filled all three. While Moreland, or any one player, alone cannot replace Ortiz, his presence should make the Red Sox a more complete team.
The 31-year-old broke into the majors in 2010 and has spent his entire career thus far with the Texas Rangers. He’s a career .254 hitter and has topped 20 home runs in a single season three times. His best year came in 2015, when he hit 23 homers and set career-highs in several categories, including batting average (.278), slugging percentage (.482), RBI (85), doubles (27), and hits (131). Last season, he hit just .233, but still launched 22 homers and slugged .422.
Moreland will likely see time at both first base, when incumbent Hanley Ramirez needs a day off, and DH. He also gives the Red Sox the option to play Ramirez at DH, thereby giving him a rest while keeping his bat in the lineup. He has the ability to to play outfield if necessary, and his veteran presence will be welcome in the young clubhouse. With Moreland aboard, the Red Sox should be just about set for the 2017 season. While other moves may still be on the horizon, we now more or less know what Boston will look like.