Red Sox Free Agency: Mitch Moreland is no Eric Hosmer

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 08: Mitch Moreland
BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 08: Mitch Moreland /

The Boston Red Sox did not go top shelf in their first base choice. Mitch Moreland is a good player, but Eric Hosmer is the superior player and will be compensated accordingly.

To paraphrase Lloyd Bentsen in the 1988 vice-presidential candidate’s debates: “I have seen Mitch Moreland and you are no Eric Hosmer.” Hosmer will be paid accordingly, and Moreland has in his back pocket a two-year deal for $13 million with the Boston Red Sox. Hosmer is projected for possibly ten times more dough. Is he worth it?

Well – in baseball is anyone worth it? The fortunate item is the marketplace sets the value and Moreland has a fraction of the value of Hosmer for a reason –  he is simply not as valuable. In fact, Carlos Santana and Logan Morrison have more value. And Jose Abreu has more value. None will be at first base for Boston, but Moreland will be.

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The PR job is out in full force that the Red Sox made a “value” choice – that is PR speak for they went cheap. I can purchase a utilitarian car that gets me between point A and B, but a Land Rover would certainly offer more reliability, better performance, and other options. This, however, is baseball and not a car lot. But you still get what you pay for. And Boston can afford a Mercedes when it becomes available. They took a Toyota.

Moreland is a competent first baseman, but is he the type of baseball cog you want on a team that has to contend? Well, Sox fans, he is the new Brian Daubauch.

Do you believe in baseball WAR? The catch-all for player analytics? If you do, then Moreland had a 0.9 fWAR in 2017 to Hosmer’s 4.1 fWAR. Hosmer is younger, a better hitter and defensively is excellent. A solid performer for years in Kansas City.

So, answer me this? If Moreland was statistically close to Hosmer (that is debatable) then why didn’t teams line up for Moreland? Why not a $10 Million a year kiss? Or a Santana like deal?

Moreland is an excellent defender and his power numbers are respectable and the best is they are consistent numbers. Where is the market for Moreland? Why didn’t Kansas City jump all over Moreland as a replacement for Hosmer? How about a different approach?

Say the game is on the line in the eighth and a runner is on third with one out? Moreland or Hosmer? I’d take Hosmer. Same situation with a lefty on the hill. No question – Hosmer. Who would you trust on the base paths? Hosmer is a vastly underrated base runner. Excellent at first to third or to get a steal. But is all that worth the extra money?

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Apparently, it is, but not to the Red Sox. They will take the cheaper option and put the savings to something more important such as the dead money for Pablo Sandoval. So, the Red Sox will have a very good first baseman for the next two seasons when they could have had a great one for the next five or six seasons.