According to a press release from the team, the Boston Red Sox have agreed to a two-year, $13 million deal to bring back first baseman Mitch Moreland. Moreland joined the Red Sox last offseason on a one-year, $5.5 million deal, after seven seasons with the Texas Rangers.
Moreland, 32, was a 17th-round pick of Mississippi State University in the 2007 MLB Draft. He debuted in the majors with the Texas Rangers in 2010, and served as a mainstay in the lineup for seven seasons. His 2016 was a dismal one, and Moreland moved on to Boston, where he took a step forward in the hitter friendly Fenway Park.
Moreland hit .246/.326/.443 with 22 home runs and 79 runs batted in a career high 149 games played last year. The “Green Monster” at Fenway Park meshed well with Moreland, who recored a career high 34 doubles and garnered himself the nickname “Mitchy Two Bags.”
The signing of Moreland does not eliminate the team from the big name free agents on the market, but may keep them out of the race for Eric Hosmer. J.D. Martinez may still fit the team very well, with a need for a power bat being the most prevalent issue they still need to address. Moreland’s signing does cloud the future of Red Sox prospect Sam Travis, a top first baseman at Triple-A Pawtucket, whose path the majors now seems less clear.
Moreland will add to the complex offseason of the Boston Red Sox, who still have multiple issues to address. Relievers and power bats are a necessity for the Red Sox as they have to compete with the defending champion Houston Astros and the rapidly improving New York Yankees among others. In addition, there is the concern over what to do with Hanley Ramirez, who could be dealt to make room for offensive changes. Moreland provides a stop gap solution and strong defense at first base for the time being.