As members of the Boston Red Sox arrive at spring training, they’ll notice a lot of familiar faces with very few new ones mixed in as they begin preparation for the 2018 season.
It’s been a slow off-season for Major League Baseball and for the Red Sox in particular.
Coming off of a 93-win season, in which they won an AL East pennant, before falling victim to the eventual World Series Champion, Houston Astros, the Red Sox apparently didn’t see any reasons to make any changes to the roster before heading into Spring Training.
Players like Tyler Thornburg, Carson Smith, Matt Barnes, along with the rest of the pitching staff will be returning, including all the other positional players like Hanley Ramirez, Dustin Pedroia, Rafael Devers and Andrew Benintendi.
The Red Sox found ways to avoid arbitration with shortstop Xander Bogaerts, outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. and starting pitcher Drew Pomeranz, who all inked one-year deals in early January.
Then to fill out the roster, the Sox avoided arbitration and retained utility man Brock Holt, catchers Sandy Leon and Christian Vazquez, and pitchers Joe Kelly, Eduardo Rodriguez and Brandon Workman, on one-year deals as well.
Superstar outfielder Mookie Betts won his arbitration hearing with the league and will be returning on a one-year, $10.5 million deal.
There has to be someone from the 2017 team that isn’t returning other than the entire coaching staff, right?
Players like Addison Reed, Eduardo Nunez, Mitch Moreland, Doug Fister, Rajai Davis, Chris Young and Fernando Abad, all elected to hit free agency following the end of the season.
Out of those seven players, only first baseman Mitch Moreland is returning to the Red Sox after signing a 2-year, $13 million deal back in December.
Pitchers Addison Reed and Doug Fister signed with the Minnesota Twins and Texas Rangers, respectively. And the other four players have yet to sign on with another ball club.
During an offseason where the New York Yankees added one of the top power bats in the league, the Red Sox were out signing a handful of players to minor league deals, including second baseman Ivan De Jesus and outfielder Steve Selsky.
Talk about a big splash!
There are still a few big names still available on the block if the Red Sox want to add that “power” bat they desperately need in the middle of the order.
Lets take a look at the “top four” remaining free agents:
OF J.D. Martinez (2017: AVG: .303, HR: 45, RBI: 104, OPS: 1.066)
1B Eric Hosmer (2017: AVG: .318, HR: 25, RBI: 94, OPS: .882)
3B Mike Moustakas (2017: .272, HR: 38, RBI: 85, OPS: .835)
1B/OF Logan Morrison (2017: .246, HR: 38, RBI: 85, OPS: .868)
It’s quite apparent that the reported five-year, $100(+) million deal that’s on the table for Martinez from the Sox isn’t enough to get the first baseman to sign the dotted line.
And then there’s Hosmer, who the San Diego Padres have been trying to make leeway with, but have had no such luck in getting a deal done.
The New York Yankees are still trying to fill a void at third base and according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, the Yanks “have been in occasional contact in recent days” with Moustakas.
Lastly, we have Morrison, who’s rumored to have declined a substantial offer from the Cleveland Indians and has been “in touch recently” with the Red Sox, according to Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston.
The Sox could end up landing one of these four players, but which one, is yet to be determined. But with Martinez balking and Morrison sounding like a backup plan, it’s also possible that neither player ends up in a Sox uniform.
If one of these players is to sign on with the team, hopefully it’ll happen sooner rather than later, so they can get down to Fort Myers and begin their preparation for the season ahead.
— By John ‘The Dude’ Hardiman, 985TheSportsHub.com