Boston Red Sox Free Agent Target: Infielder Logan Forsythe
By Sean Penney
With question marks surrounding the health and production of Boston Red Sox second baseman, Logan Forsythe could be a low-cost target to consider.
The Boston Red Sox are probably done making splashy free agent signings. The lone exception possibly being saved for the bullpen, depending on how serious they are about limiting their luxury tax bill. That doesn’t mean they aren’t interested in low-cost free agents to bolster the depth on their roster.
While they seem set with most of their position players, second base is a lingering question the Red Sox may need to address. It boils down to how confident they are in the health of Dustin Pedroia. The veteran second baseman sounds like he’s ready to play but the front office can’t bank on that following a season lost to injury.
Ian Kinsler signed with the San Diego Padres as a free agent, taking away the replacement option the Red Sox acquired mid-season when it was clear Pedroia wasn’t coming back in 2018. That leaves Eduardo Nunez as the primary backup at second base. Nunez has a lengthy injury history of his own and was abysmal defensively when he filled in at the position last season. Boston also has Brock Holt on the roster, although he’s best suited staying in a versatile super-utility role.
The Red Sox could use some additional insurance in case Pedroia can’t make it through a full season. Their payroll concerns will limit what they can spend but bargains can be found in this market. The top free agents at the position signed for less than expected – Daniel Murphy (2-year, $24 million), DJ LeMahieu (2-year, $22 million), and Brian Dozier (2-year, $ 9 million). That has left the next tiers of second basemen settling for below market deals.
Useful veterans can be found without breaking the bank. One such available option is Logan Forsythe.
The 32-year old is coming off a disappointing season but he picked up his production following a mid-season trade that sent him from the Los Angeles Dodgers to the Minnesota Twins in the Dozier deal. Forsythe hit .258 with a .648 OPS in 50 games with the Twins.
Perhaps all Forsythe needed was to escape Los Angeles. He hit a meager .218/.325/.314 in a year and a half playing in pitcher-friendly Dodger Stadium. The move back to the American League seemed to suit him. Prior to moving out west, Forsythe hit .262/.334/.419 in three seasons with the Tamp Bay Rays.
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His numbers with the Rays and Twins are comparable to what the Red Sox received from their second basemen last season. The career-high 20 home runs Forsythe hit in 2016 shows he has a higher power ceiling than the team’s other options.
Forsythe is also a solid defensive second baseman, accumulating seven Defensive Runs Saved at the position over the last three years. Being slightly above-average is a tremendous upgrade over putting Nunez back at second. Forsythe is also a capable third baseman and has played shortstop and the outfield in a pinch.
The second base free agent market is dwindling. Most of the remaining options are washed up or don’t provide enough of an upgrade to warrant consideration. Forsythe may be the exception. If he struggles to find the type of deal he’s looking for, latching on with a contender on a short-term deal could be appealing. That potentially gives the Red Sox the opportunity for a bargain.
Perhaps Pedroia will prove himself healthy the closer we get to spring training, in which case the Red Sox may feel satisfied with their depth. Until that question is answered, Boston should still have an eye on the second base market and Forsythe should be on the radar.