Red Sox Rumors: Free agent Brock Holt hints at potential exit
By Sean Penney
Utility player Brock Holt will test free agency for the first time in his career and his latest social media post suggests he may leave the Boston Red Sox.
There could be a significant amount of turnover with the Boston Red Sox roster in the wake of a disappointing season. Several players are hitting free agency, a few others are involved in trade rumors, and ownership is intent on cutting payroll. One player who could be on his way out of town is Brock Holt.
The 31-year old has spent the last seven seasons in the Red Sox organization after briefly getting a taste of the big leagues with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2012. Holt will venture into the free-agent waters for the first time in his career and it’s unclear if that process will lead him back to Boston.
The caption on Holt’s latest Instagram post makes the situation murkier.
"“I am forever grateful for the past 7 years! It has been one hell of a ride! Don’t know what is next but I’m excited to find out. Until next time!”"
Does that sound like a player who plans on staying? It seems more like a farewell. Holt is thanking the Red Sox organization and their fans for their support over the last seven years but it’s time to move on.
That doesn’t necessarily mean he’s eager to leave Boston but it’s possible he’s simply reading the writing on the wall.
Holt is coming off a strong season in which he hit .297 with a .771 OPS in 87 games. He’s typically been productive when healthy and was an All-Star in 2015. He’s earned the opportunity to be an everyday player but that may never happen with the Red Sox.
Boston has always used Holt as a part-time utility player. His versatility is one of his greatest strengths, as it allowed for the Red Sox to plug him in virtually anywhere on the field. It also prevented him from cementing a permanent home at any position and he couldn’t always count on being in the lineup.
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Holt has never played more than 129 games in a season and appeared in fewer than 100 in three of the last four years. Injuries have played a part in that. He missed most of the 2016 season with a concerning case of concussion symptoms and vertigo. He was sidelined for nearly two months this season with a scratched cornea when his adorable young son poked him in the eye. These ailments are behind him but the track record of injuries is a bit concerning.
The Red Sox appear to be set at nearly every position entering 2020 with the exception of second base. Assuming that Dustin Pedroia doesn’t make a miraculous return to full-time action, a case can be made for bringing Holt back to be their primary second baseman.
Holt isn’t expected to break the bank with his next contract but he deserves to be paid as an everyday player on a multi-year deal. Considering their tight budget, Boston may pivot toward a cheaper internal option such as Michael Chavis, Marco Hernandez or Tzu-Wei Lin.
Losing Holt would hurt both on and off the field. He’s become a fan favorite in Boston for his heart, hustle, and flexibility to do anything the team asks of him. He’s a positive clubhouse influence with a great rapport with teammates, from his bond with Andrew Benintendi back in their “flow bro” days to his celebratory hugs following a J.D. Martinez home run. Everyone loves the Brock Star.
Fans would certainly love to see Holt remain in a Red Sox uniform but the team doesn’t appear to be making him a priority. There was hardly a whisper of extension talks before this season when the Red Sox were locking up their foundational pieces for the long term.
Holt’s message to the fans on social media suggests that he’s excited to explore his options and that very likely could lead him elsewhere in 2020. Hopefully, the two sides will find a way to work out an agreement. If this is the end of the road for his time with the Red Sox, thanks for the memories, Brock Star!