Boston Red Sox first baseman Mitch Moreland hasn’t stopped preparing for the season just because the league is on hold, and he’s ready to rock in 2020.
It’s no secret that we all miss baseball by now and are ready for the possibility of its return in July. With players scattered around the country and even some abroad, it’s been a challenge to coordinate everyone and get ready for the impending season. Boston Red Sox first baseman Mitch Moreland decided to take matters into his own hands and created his own space to prepare or 2020.
The recently re-signed veteran is coming into the year with a new one-year/$2.5M deal with a $3M team option for 2021. Boston’s veteran infielder will be entering his 11th season in the Majors and is fighting for each and every contract going forward. Now, I know that may sound dramatic, but with the league getting younger, jobs for a 34-year-old are going to become sparse.
Luckily, Moreland can still play at an elite level and is the epitome of a clubhouse leader and seems to have great relationships with everyone on the squad. Those kinds of things may be arbitrary to some but they can also be the difference-maker when it comes to contract negotiations. A great player that is a headache in the locker room and off the field may not get the chance that someone like Mitch does.
He’s been a fan-favorite with Red Sox Nation ever since he arrived ahead of the 2017 season. He quickly filled that role of fun-loving, bearded, power-hitter that was left vacant when Mike Napoli left. It didn’t take long for him to earn the love of the fans as well as his nickname “Mitchy Two-Bags,” thanks to his consistency with smacking extra base-hits.
So, let’s get back to the current events of the 2020 season and just what the Red Sox slugger has been up to. The lefty was a guest on NESN’s “At Home with TC,” where he and Tom Caron got caught up on everything from the offseason. While some may have found it difficult to stay in shape once spring training shut down, Moreland didn’t let that be an issue. He and his family converted a barn on the property into space where they can all be together, and it has its own batting cage.
"“It’s not like I moved the horses out and put the cage up,” Moreland said. “It’s a pretty nice little setup. It’s a lot of fun, for this time of year when everybody’s stuck at home, it’s a good place to pass the time and keep the kids busy.”"
That’s right! Every baseball-loving kid’s dream is a reality at the Moreland Compound. A few weeks ago the Red Sox posted on their Instagram a video of Mitchy smacking some dingers in the cage as well as working on his hand and footwork with grounders. I’m sure the list of players that could construct such an area is few and far but it’s nice to see that one of them plays in Boston.
Seriously, just think back to when you were a kid, how cool would it have been to be able to go to you own batting cage? I had a relative that had one for a summer and it was the damn coolest thing ever. Sadly, it wasn’t long for this world and It’s definitely something I’d buy if I ever have the land for it.
Back to Mitchy Two-Bags though, this year will be big for him as he needs to show that he can still go. He’s in a sweet situation with the Red Sox as there’s no proven heir apparent behind him on the roster. Michael Chavis and Bobby Dalbec are the next in line but Chavis will likely be plugged in at second and Dalbec isn’t quite ready. This could also lock the 2021 option in for Moreland as it will guarantee Boston a quality player at first base for another season.
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One of the funnier tidbits from the chat with TC brought the pair to the subject of video games. The major sports leagues all decided to do some sort of video game tournament involving some of their biggest stars. Eduardo Rodriguez represented the Red Sox in a battle of “MLB The Show”, though he didn’t fair too well.
Mitch also jumped into “The Show,” with his son and faired far better than Boston’s southpaw ace. He mentioned that the game wasn’t realistic as he won a “Player of the Game,” award one day. Though it seems he doesn’t quite have the highest confidence in himself, Red Sox Nation knows that he can still rake when the time comes.
"“I did play one time the other night and I was player of the game as myself,” he said. “I was like, ‘Man, this thing is not realistic at all.’ I took a picture of it just so I could remember in bad times, I could still be player of the game on ‘The Show.’”"
Mitch Moreland has been a major factor in the success of the Red Sox ever since he arrived in town. With a few years possibly left in town, he isn’t taking this shutdown lightly and is continuing to work towards the 2020 campaign. If we do see a season this summer, I’m expecting to see Mitch at a high level due to the dedication he’s shown this offseason.