The 2019 offseason is in full swing. The 2018 World Series Champion Boston Red Sox are gearing up for another World Series run, and they are doing it rather quietly. Boston has yet to make any sort of offseason noise. They signed starter Nathan Eovaldi to an extension almost as soon as the offseason started, let Joe Kelly walk to free agency and extended Mookie Betts through the 2020 season. However, those seemingly were the only moves in an otherwise-quiet offseason. Here are some moves worth noting so far that can possibly help the Red Sox get back to the World Series.
One of the best pitchers for the Red Sox last season with inherited runners with reliever Heath Hembree. Hembree is returning to the Red Sox on a one year deal that he signed December 21st. Hembree will be one of the more consistent arms in the bullpen with the departure of Joe Kelly and the possibility of Craig Kimbrel leaving the team as well.
Tyler Thornburg is another guy added back to the bullpen to avoid arbitration. Even though he didn’t make the postseason roster and has been hurt for the majority of his time in Boston, Thornburg is still a very young and talented guy. When healthy, he can help a bullpen that just might be the weakest part of this Red Sox team.
They also avoided an arbitration period with star right fielder Mookie Betts. Mookie was the American League MVP last season and one of the leaders of this Red Sox team and will be for years to come.
Losing and Gaining Pieces:
Ian Kinsler was acquired midway through the 2018 season and seemingly was the defender to hold down second base. Now, he has signed a contract to head to San Diego and has forced the Red Sox to use Brock Holt in a more regular role. Eduardo Nunez and Brock Holt will split time at second base, and this can cause matchup problems for any type of pitcher they face, whether it is a left- or right-handed starter.
Another addition not being talked about is Gorkys Hernandez. Hernandez has been on the San Francisco Giants, and the 31 year-old outfielder hit .234 last season with 15 homeruns and 40 runs batted in. Playing in San Francisco makes it tough to rack up a high number of homeruns. From an otherwise smaller guy, hitting 15 of them throughout 142 games last season is relatively impressive. Hernandez signs a minor league contract with the World Series champs and provides much needed depth to a very stellar outfield.
Welcome Back Late Lightning:
Perhaps the biggest midseason pickup across all of Major League Baseball was Steve “Late Lightning” Pearce. Pearce provided a very nice compliment at first base, making sure that if he was facing a left-handed pitcher, he was going to get his chances with the bat. Pearce proved to be a Yankee killer throughout his Red Sox campaign, including the postseason. He also came up big when Mitch Moreland got hurt in the postseason by sliding into the camera well behind first base.
Pearce’s hits weren’t numerous, but they were timely enough that they changed the World Series. He hit the game-tying homerun in game four and then proceeded to hit the go-ahead bases, clearing double later on in game four. Those two hits were extremely influential in the Red Sox taking a stranglehold of the series. It was very important for the Red Sox to bring Steve Pearce, even if it was for just one more guaranteed year. They brought him back for a one year/ six and a half million dollar deal keeping a key piece right where he needs to be.
Ultimately the best thing for a World Series champion to do is to do nothing at all. Keeping the same core pieces is extremely important. Guys like Xander Bogaerts, Mookie Betts, Chris Sale, David Price and J.D. Martinez, among others, have stayed put. With that set of core guys, there is always a chance that the Boston Red Sox continue to compete and win games. The Red Sox will have a very good chance to contend yet again. The Yankees are doing everything in their power this offseason to get as many big name free agents as they can. The Red Sox have proven that signing reputable guys can work well and create further success. The Red Sox’s quiet offseason has been one of the best things they could have done. The 2019 Red Sox look a lot like the 2018 Red Sox, and based on that result, they’re definitely still the team to beat in Major League Baseball.
Featured image from NBC Sports.
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