Boston Red Sox

By Matt McCarthy, 985TheSportsHub.com

The Red Sox have a number of important decisions to make in the coming weeks as the hot stove season heats up.

We here at 985thesportshub.com have been evaluating whether or not the Red Sox should re-sign their major impending free agents and what it might cost to keep members of the 2018 team around for the long-term.

So far, we’ve taken a look at Craig Kimbrel, Nathan Eovaldi, and Joe Kelly.

Now, we turn our attention to World Series MVP Steve Pearce. Should the Red Sox bring the 36-year-old journeyman back?

Oct 28, 2018; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Boston Red Sox first baseman Steve Pearce (25) reacts after hitting a solo home run in the eighth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers in game five of the 2018 World Series at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The likely cost:

A one or two-year contract somewhere between $6 and $8 million per year.

The argument for keeping Pearce:

Pearce had a .900 OPS after being traded to Boston and was a legitimate middle of the order contributor when called upon. He was billed as a lefty-masher, but proved he is a capable hitter against righties and lefties.

His defense at first base was far better than advertised and he can play a little outfield if needed.

Great teams have great role players, and Pearce certainly was that in both the regular season and October. He is the type of hitter that seems to deliver when the moment is big.

The argument against keeping Pearce:

As great as Pearce was in October, guys like him are a dime-a-dozen.

The Red Sox need a right-handed corner infielder/corner outfielder type to split time with Mitch Moreland at first base. Moreland is under contract for one more season, meaning the Red Sox will likely look for a right-handed hitter on a one-year deal before looking at a long-term option at first base.

They can likely find a cheaper and younger option on the open market.

The verdict:

If the Red Sox can get Pearce one a one-year contract, they should bring him back, even if the salary is slightly on the higher side of his potential market. But extending themselves to two years with a 36-year-old player makes no sense and they should let Pearce walk in that case.

The market will determine if Pearce returns, but the Red Sox should be open to a reunion if it’s on a short-term basis.

You can hear Matt McCarthy on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s own Hardcore Baseball podcast and on various 98.5 The Sports Hub programs. Follow him on Twitter @MattMcCarthy985.