Mitchy Two Bags Returns
The Red Sox resigning Mitch Moreland is a total win for the Red Sox. The Red Sox signed the first baseman to a one year contract, paying him 2.5 million in 2020 with a buyout of 500K and a club option for 2021 that would pay 3 million. The Red Sox cannot lose on this deal. Yes, I am a big fan of Mitch Moreland. His pinch hit three-run home run in game 4 of the 2018 World Series was the biggest hit the Red Sox had all postseason. As a fan that home run is a memory I will never forget. The nostalgia alone has me excited enough that he is staying in a Red Sox uniform but the Sox are also getting him for an incredible bargain.
Wins Above Replacement is how baseball executives determine a players value. This is not a perfect stat but it gives a good understanding of what a player is worth. Mitch Moreland’s 1.3 Wins Above Replacement in 2019 is worth around eight million dollars in the current baseball market. Of course, Moreland battled through injuries in 2019 and is playing in his age thirty four season so there is a slight risk factor in signing him (hence the buyout). The 2.5 million salary the Red Sox are paying the slugger is worth less than 0.5 Wins Above Replacement. That is easily attainable production for a healthy Mitch Moreland.
Another benefit to this deal is the Red Sox right side of the infield was looking very thin and questionable heading into 2020. Jose Pereza, was projected to start at second base for the season. He had an abysmal 2019 season at the plate and the Red Sox had no way of knowing if he was effective enough to be a regular in the starting lineup. The same goes for Michael Chavis. I have been a massive fan of Chavis since the day he got drafted. He is an exciting player to watch and can absolutely crush the ball but his sample size is too small to rely on him to carry the production of the right side of the infield. Plus, he probably will fit better in his natural position, second base. Bringing Moreland back gave the Red Sox lineup depth, a veteran presence at first base and a great pinch hitter. The 2021 club option on the contract is another bonus for the Red Sox. If Moreland stays healthy and performs the way he normally does the 3 million dollar option should be a no brainer for the Red Sox. The first base position in Boston could be up for grabs in the future. Bobby Dalbec is an intriguing prospect in Pawtucket but ultimately needs more minor league at bats before he takes over first base at Fenway. Triston Casas, the Red Sox farm systems prized gem still has a couple years before his projected Major League debut. Moreland gives them stability until Dalbec or Casas are ready. There is no downside for the Red Sox on this Moreland deal.