The Boston Red Sox are in need of a second baseman and they may be able to find the player they need through free agency in veteran Eric Sogard.
Free agency is underway and teams are assessing their needs ahead of the Winter Meetings next month. The Red Sox aren’t immune and have several needs of their own that Chaim Bloom will be tasked with fulfilling. Boston has half of their infield vacant thanks to players heading off to free agency and there aren’t any set replacements on the roster.
It’s not that the Red Sox don’t have options, it’s actually the opposite. They have some very talented guys like Michael Chavis, Marco Hernandez, Sam Travis, and Bobby Dalbec that can all step into either of the first or second base vacancies. But they’ll need more than just those guys as three of the four had injury issues in 2019 and Dalbec has yet to get a true taste of the Majors.
So with a wide selection of solid options to call upon why would the Red Sox need to look elsewhere? Simply enough, they need someone that’s battle-tested and can thrive in the division.
This is where Eric Sogard comes into the picture and would be a perfect fit for Boston’s needs. Sogard has just under a decade in the league with the A’s, Brewers, Blue Jays, and Rays. He would split 2019 between the Jays and Rays and he felt like a constant thorn in the side of the Sox.
Overall for this past season, he finished with .290/.353/.457/.810 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI. Those numbers may not be Earth-shattering but they’re all career-high marks except for his OBP which was just behind his best (.393). This also disqualifies his first season within which he went 3-7, just not a good enough sample size to count it here.
Having spent the season in the AL East he would be an asset to the Red Sox as he’s familiar with their chief rivals. In 2019, he went 31-113 against the AL East equating to a .274 AVG, just below his season-long total. I’ll gladly sign a guy that can hit nearly .300 against the teams we’ll be playing against the most.
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Sogard is coming off his best season and doesn’t command very much in the salary department, just $555K for 2019 combined. Boston is in full savings mode as they’re trying to get their salary below the CBT threshold in order to reset their penalties ahead of 2020. Considering their desire to get below the $208M mark and the need for a second baseman, Sogard could be a bargain steal.
Now is the time for Bloom to strike and secure the Red Sox a reliable veteran that could help coach up the young talent around him. If Dustin Pedroia does make his comeback next season then this would be a win-win as Alex Cora could have both vets rotate for one another.
Sogard is nearly an everyday player but with his tenth year approaching, it may seem logical to cut back on the playing time to preserve the long-term. With Pedroia’s knee being a massive question mark and the other options possibly being pulled to fill other vacancies, this is a safe play for the new CBO.
To me, it’s a no-brainer. Sign the guy for a modest 2-year/$1.5M deal and use him as the everyday second baseman if Pedroia can’t go. It gets him a raise and gets Boston a reliable player on the roster while they’re continuing to cultivate their young infielders. The Red Sox are already an incredibly young team, so adding a long-tenured player could only help those young players to improve.
The Red Sox need to fill some voids in the lineup and they need to do so while spending as little money as possible. Eric Sogard would be the perfect fit for the scenario that Bloom has been handed by ownership. With the GM Meetings ongoing and the Winter Meetings fast approaching, I wouldn’t be surprised if we start to see some of the free-agent dominoes begin to fall.