Red Sox Analysis: What to do with a struggling Mitch Moreland

BOSTON, MA - JUNE 10: Mitch Moreland
BOSTON, MA - JUNE 10: Mitch Moreland /

With Mitch Moreland’s recent struggles at the plate, is it time for the Boston Red Sox to explore other options at first base?

In April and May, the Boston Red Sox and Mitch Moreland seemed like a perfect marriage. The Sox were winning games and Moreland was producing at the plate.

Moreland even earned himself the nickname “Mitchy Two Bags” from Red Sox personality, Jared Carrabis, due to his record-breaking number of doubles.

Now, the honeymoon stage is over. Moreland’s numbers have come crashing back to earth – hitting a mere .209 since the beginning of June. Meanwhile, the Sox are struggling at the plate. With the trade deadline looming large, what will the front office decide to do?

One option that the Red Sox should explore, is putting Moreland on the DL. He was diagnosed with a broken toe, but has played through it. Though he may not be in a severe amount of pain, this will allow him to regroup against inferior competition.

The infamous mystery DL tactic has success stories, as well as failures. Clay Buchholz went on the DL multiple times after his breakout season in 2013 (12-1, 1.74 ERA) and never found any success after – ultimately leading to a trade to the Philadelphia Phillies. However, Rick Porcello found success with this option in 2015. In his first year with the Red Sox, he had a 5.81 ERA through 20 starts. Porcello then posted a 3.14 ERA in his final eight starts after dealing with “shoulder soreness” and won the Cy Young Award the following year.

There is no guarantee that it will pay off with Moreland, but it is certainly worth a shot.

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A secondary option is for the Sox to explore a trade. Moreland has always been known as a streaky hitter, but his glove has remained a constant. However, the Red Sox are planning to have Hanley Ramirez see more time at first. Are they moving Moreland out? Or are they planning more rest?

The Red Sox are not stuck in a heavy monetary commitment, as Moreland is only signed to a 1-year, $5.5 million deal. This cap flexibility allows for the Sox to move on if they feel inspired to do so. Yonder Alonso has been linked to the AL East, and could replace Moreland. Giancarlo Stanton could also DH, moving Hanley to first – if the Dave Dombrowski were to pursue the Miami Marlins’ power hitter.

Of course, John Farrell could also allow for Moreland to figure things out at the plate. He was extremely hot at the beginning of the season, showing that he does have plenty of value. Unfortunately for Mitch, the Red Sox are in the middle of a playoff race and won’t be inspired to wait things out.

Next: Asdrubal Cabrera in Boston?

Are things nearing an end for Mitchy Two Bags? I hope not, but with the trade deadline rapidly approaching, and the Sox offense scuffling, Moreland could be on his way out of Boston.