There is no denying there was a major power outage on the field during the 2017 Boston Red Sox season.
The home run total was down by 40, the team batting average was down by 24 points, and the OPS fell by 74. All of this occurred in the matter of one single season. The Red Sox scored the second-least runs among all 10 of the teams that clinched a playoff berth. Not only that, and they also sat in 26th place in slugging percentage in the league.
First baseman Mitch Moreland was brought in and signed to a one-year deal during this 2016 offseason for his glove. It was figured that a bat was not a going to be a necessity. He was sought after because Hanley Ramirez was taking over the designated hitter role, in place of Ortiz.
While Moreland did contribute a Gold Glove worthy season on the diamond, his bat was not up to par with what was unknowingly needed of him.
His contact with the Red Sox is now up. The front office could either decide to extend him or let him walk and in turn, bring in someone else. Let’s explore two potential men who could help spark some offense and bring a decent glove to the first base position for the Red Sox.
Eric Hosmer was signed to a one-year, $12.25 million deal with the Kansas City Royals, the team he has spent his entire professional career with, last winter. The only problem with bringing him in is his burdening price tag. Since he had such an incredible year, he will be expecting more cash in 2018.
He brought an abundance of power to the Royals lineup. He played in all 162 tilts, and with great reason. He batted a consistent .318, which put him at third in American League in that category. His on-base percentage was .385, good enough for fourth in the league.
His hit total was eight away from 200. A Royals player has yet to come that close to the feat since Billy Butler in 2012 (192).
Even though he had a great first half (and second), he didn’t manage to make the cut for the 2017 All-Star Game. However, it is still more than probable that his cost will significantly rise too high, and would make Boston rise above the luxury tax threshold.
And now for the second, and more foreseeable option: Carlos Santana.
Santana just completed the fifth and final year of his five-year, $21M of his contract with the Cleveland Indians. His yearly pay was dimmed down to $4.2M, just a tad less that what Moreland made this year.
Signing this 31-year-old from the Dominican Republic would be easy, do to his lack of production in the lineup this season. When I say “lack of production,” I’m not saying it was bad, just about in the context of his previous season. His home run tally dropped 11 over the course of the year, but he still had one more than Moreland. While there was no strong difference between these two in homers, there was a slightly larger separation between their productivity stats, in the favor of Santana. Almost every offensive stat is lead by Santana, with the exception of RBIs (tied at 79 each).
The plus side to signing Santana is that he is aged one year less than Moreland (31 and 32). But, signing Hosmer would be the best way to go, since he is only 28, and another breakout year may be in the near future.