Brock Holt will be a free agent after the 2019 season but he hopes to remain with the Boston Red Sox for the rest of his career.
The versatile Brock Holt is capable of covering almost any position on the field but there’s only one team he wants to play for – the Boston Red Sox.
The focus has been on the impending free agency of Chris Sale, Rick Porcello, and Xander Bogaerts. J.D. Martinez would join that list if he opts out of his deal. Little attention has been paid to Holt, who will test free agency for the first time in his career next winter.
The topic came up during an interview with WEEI on Friday. While Holt acknowledged that the club has several key free agents to address, he’s hopeful that the Red Sox will save room for him.
"“I would love to play here forever. That’s what I want to do,” said Holt. “If something like that comes up and we can work something out that would be the best-case scenario. But there are a lot of guys in here who are coming free here soon, so there are a lot of decisions to make. They’ll make the right ones. I’m glad we’re here all at the time, though.”"
Forever seems like a bit of an exaggeration. Nobody plays forever, except Tom Brady. Spending the rest of his playing career in Boston is a feasible goal though.
Holt was a surprise All-Star selection in 2015. While he benefited from MLB’s archaic rule that every team must be represented in the All-Star Game, Holt’s versatility was recognized as a skill set that AL manager Ned Yost valued.
His career was on the rise as he approached what should have been his peak years, only for injuries to crater his value long before he could cash in on the free agent market. Holt played in a total of only 158 games over the next two seasons and saw his production plummet. Concussion symptoms and vertigo nearly ended his career in 2017. He was a shell of his former self when he did take the field, hitting .200 with a .548 OPS.
After putting his health concerns behind him, Holt bounced back with a solid 2018 season. He hit .277/.362/.411 with seven home runs and 46 RBI in 321 at-bats, eclipsing his production from his All-Star campaign.
Holt’s stock is rising and if he can keep building on that success he may set himself up for a decent pay raise.
"“I feel like I did last year if I can continue to prove I’m that type of player … The two years prior to that I kind of throw away. I feel like I can help a team,” said Holt. “That’s what I try to do. I try and do what I can to help the team win. I’m just trying to keep building off the successes I had last year and hopefully, just continue to help this team. I feel like I can help any team and teams nowadays are looking for guys who can play different spots and have versatility. That helps me out.”More from Red Sox NewsRed Sox Nation deserves far more from Fenway Sports GroupBizarre trade deadline comes back to haunt Red Sox after Nathan Eovaldi departureRed Sox’ Moneyball-style offseason continues with Corey Kluber contractRich Hill’s Red Sox departure puts him within striking distance of unique MLB recordRed Sox offseason takes another nasty hit with Nathan Eovaldi departure"
Holt will earn $3.575 million this season in his final year of arbitration. If he produces value similar to the 1.3 WAR he was worth last season he should earn more than that on his next contract, although it’s difficult to gauge based on the current market conditions. When the best position players on the market are still looking for a job, a utility player like Holt may need to temper expectations.
Holt will turn 31 in June, a factor that may prevent him from finding a long-term deal. A look at the over-30-year-old free agents who produced a similar WAR to Holt last season shows many players who settled for one-year deals. The cases that are most similar to Holt – Matt Adams (1-year, $3 million), Freddy Galvis (1-year, $4 million), and Jordy Mercer (1-year, $5.25 million) – aren’t exactly encouraging.
The frigid market carrying into next year would make it easier for the Red Sox to retain their own free agents. Holt’s clear desire to stay and presumably low asking price should make re-signing him an easy decision. His ability to back up most positions on the field makes him a unique asset who provides value that would be difficult to replace.
Maybe he won’t last forever but hopefully, Holt plays in Boston for the foreseeable future. This is where he wants to be and the team should want him to stick around as long as he keeps producing.