The Red Sox should look to bring back fan-favorite Brock Holt.
The Boston Red Sox have already started the purge by jettisoning key members of the bullpen as the trade deadline approaches. Waiving the white flag isn’t going to sit well with this fan base regardless of where they sit in the standings but one way they can start to make amends is by reuniting with a fan favorite.
The Milwaukee Brewers announced that they have designated Brock Holt for assignment, potentially opening a path for the versatile utility man to make his way back to Boston.
Many fans were crushed when the Red Sox let Holt slip away in free agency last winter. Boston allowed most of their free agents to leave as they aimed to slash payroll but they essentially replaced Holt with the slightly more expensive Jose Peraza.
The Red Sox signed Peraza to a 1-year, $3 million deal while the Brewers stole Holt for a mere $2.5 million. Technically the $5 million team option for 2021 with a $750K buyout means Holt has more guaranteed money in his deal. However, the option or buyout money would count toward next year when the Red Sox will care less about payroll after resetting the luxury tax. Regardless, the difference in salary is negligible enough that many were puzzled why a popular player coming off a solid season was replaced by a bargain bin infielder who struggled last year.
The decision hasn’t panned out since Peraza has performed miserably for the Red Sox, hitting .238 with a .616 OPS. He has only six extra-base hits without a home run and a mere four RBI. Peraza stole 21+ bases in three consecutive seasons before dropping to only seven last year, in part because he was rarely on base. That trend continues this year as Peraza has yet to swipe a bag.
He doesn’t get on base, has very little pop in his bat and hasn’t been able to utilize his speed. What good has Peraza done for this team? He’s provided adequate defense at multiple positions. You know who else does that? Brock Holt.
Unfortunately, there’s a reason why the Brewers moved on from Holt so quickly. He’s 3-for-30 (.100) with four walks, no extra-base hits and only 1 RBI. It’s a tiny sample size but a Brewers club hoping to contend for a postseason spot couldn’t afford to be patient.
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The Red Sox can be. They aren’t going anywhere this year so a slumping bat in the lineup doesn’t matter quite as much. It’s not as if he’d be a huge downgrade from Peraza anyway and his track record shows that Holt has been a solid hitter when healthy.
Even if his playing time in limited, having Holt back on the roster could give a boost to his teammates. He’s a great clubhouse guy with a close connection with several current Red Sox players.
Remember the Flo Bros? Holt and Andrew Benintendi had quite the bromance going when they were teammates. Benny is still recovering on the injured list but once he returns, getting his bat back on track is one of the top priorities as the Red Sox play out the string of this lost season. Having the support of his friend Holt couldn’t hurt.
Holt might not break out of his slump this year but his positive energy could help lift his teammates during a frustrating season.
His return would certainly lift the spirits of fans who feel scorned by the team’s rebuilding strategy. Resetting the tax and compiling assets for the future is a necessary path to sustainable success but many fans don’t want to hear that. They care that their favorite players are gone.
Bringing back Holt would be a small step toward reconciling with those fans. Call it a peace offering. Now that Holt appears to be available, the Red Sox should rectify the mistake they made in letting him go.