Mitch Moreland took a contract to come back to the Red Sox without an everyday job. But now, he’s proving to be the ultimate team player.
In the days after the New York Yankees acquired Giancarlo Stanton in a deal with the Miami Marlins, the Boston Red Sox made their first offseason move. The Red Sox reached out to Mitch Moreland and signed him to two-year, $13 million contract.
Many fans were upset, claiming this was the Red Sox counter to the Yankees move, but this was not that. The Red Sox made a move that they knew would give them depth and make them better.
When Moreland signed the contract, it looked like he would be the starting first baseman. Moreland, a former Gold Glove winner, brought it on the defensive end last year for the Red Sox. The bat fell behind a little bit, but there was reason for optimism.
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Moreland could have easily sought a way out of Boston. He is in the twilight of his prime and was playing solid last year until an injury derailed his season.
But between an injury that briefly sidelined Ramirez and the lineup shuffling of Alex Cora, Moreland has seen his fair share of at-bats. In 31 at-bats, Moreland is hitting .355 with a 1.025 OPS and four doubles. Even if he doesn’t keep up this pace, Moreland has been worth the money so far.
We all know what he brings on defense. Not much is going to get by Moreland, but the bat has never been up to par. The start this season is encouraging as far as helping the offense catch up.
Moreland’s signing gives the Red Sox a viable replacement should Ramirez fall into a slump. He also provides a valuable matchup bat for pinch-hitting situations. On top of that, he can be a defensive replacement in late game situations.
All-in-all, the Moreland signing is looking like a great one. But that also is due to Moreland’s ability to buy into the team system. He now has a chance at a ring and he will play a big part in that down the stretch.