Boston Red Sox Report Cards: First baseman Steve Pearce
By Jason Ward
The BoSox Injection team grades the 2018 season for each member of the Boston Red Sox. Up next is first-baseman Steve Pearce.
The mid-season acquisition made a name for himself with the Boston Red Sox this season. Although he didn’t play a full season with the Sox, Steve Pearce certainly had his share of memorable moments in Boston.
Pearce was acquired from the Blue Jays in late June in exchange for minor leaguer Santiago Espinal. He was brought in to help the Red Sox with their struggles against left-handed pitching as another option at first base.
He batted .279 with 7 HRs, 26 RBIs, a .394 OBP, and a .901 OPS in 50 games with the Red Sox. Pretty solid stats considering his role on the team. Plus, he hit four total home runs in a weekend, three in one game, against the Yankees and was nicknamed “The Yankee Killer”. There’s not much that can make you more popular in Boston than doing that.
Pearce’s regular season was good, but his postseason performance is what really made him a household name in New England.
He hit .289 overall in the postseason, but .333 in both the ALDS and World Series. He also had four total home runs (most on the team) and 11 RBIs (2nd most). Most notably though, Pearce won World Series MVP after hitting three home runs in the series including a crucial game-tying homer in Game 4.
On the defensive side, Pearce had to fill in for former Gold Glove winner Mitch Moreland and he did not let the Sox down. He made unbelievable stretches at 1B to save runs and help his teammates out like the one he made to win game 4 of the ALDS. Plus, he flipped over the railing and went headfirst into the Astros’ dugout trying to make a play which shows he was going all out.
The reasoning behind Pearce’s grade goes beyond his stats. He came through when it mattered and helped his team reach the ultimate goal of winning a championship as World Series MVP. Even in the regular season, Pearce was clutch when he needed to be. Whether it was hitting four homers in a weekend to contribute to the sweep of the Yankees, making incredible stretches at first base to save runs and games, or filling in when Moreland was struggling or hurt, Steve Pearce did his job.
Looking Ahead to 2019
Steve Pearce is currently a free agent, but he has expressed interest in returning to the Red Sox next season. Although he’s 35 years old, Pearce could still contribute in this same role he had this season. He can start at 1B against some LHPs or when Moreland needs a day off, make a spot start at DH for a game, fill in at LF/RF at any point if necessary, or provide a spark off the bench.
There’s no reason why the Red Sox shouldn’t re-sign him really. He won’t cost that much at all to sign, he’s versatile and a good veteran hitter, he won World Series MVP and is well liked in Boston, and he grew up a Red Sox fan.
If he does re-sign with the Sox, I think Pearce will have a very similar season next year as he did this year. Steve Pearce is that kind of player that you know what you’re going to get from him. He’s not a superstar, but he’ll consistently give you competitive at-bats and go all out in the field. Plus there’s always the chance that he’ll hit 3 home runs in a game against the Yankees or win World Series MVP for them!