The Brock Holt Free Agency Conundrum

At the conclusion of the 2019 season, Red Sox utility man Brock Holt is set to become a free agent for the first time in his career.

The 31-year-old has put together a well-rounded campaign this year, slashing .316/.380/.427 with three home runs and 31 RBI over 77 games and 255 plate appearances while playing all around the field.

Given those numbers, it appears that Holt is set for quite the pay raise this winter after earning $3.575 million this season.

Per FanGraphs’ Dollars statistic, which is, “the amount of money a player’s production would be worth on the free agent market in millions of dollars,” Holt has been worth $11.9 and $11.3 million over the last two seasons respectively. Not too shabby.

Off the field, the Texas native provides even more value, both as a positive influence in the Sox clubhouse and as a Jimmy Fund Captain.

Even more so, what Holt provides off the field was on full display this past week, as he was named Boston’s nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award on Thursday, marking the the third time since 2016 that he was selected for, “the most prestigious individual award” in the league for “represent(ing) the game of Baseball through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field.”

So, not only does Holt provide the Red Sox with quality play on the field. He has also become a staple in the Boston community and a favorite among Sox fans. Both are positive factors working in his favor.

That said, it’s not out of of the realm of possibilities that Holt could have plenty of suitors come free agency in the next few months.

As already mentioned, he gets on base, he plays multiple positions, and he would be a well-respected veteran and potential mentor wherever he lands. Any club, contending or rebuilding alike, has a reason to be interested in Holt’s services.

This past February, former Houston Astros utility man Marwin Gonzalez inked a two-year, $21 million pact with the Minnesota Twins. In his time with Houston, Gonzalez played up to seven different positions and was viewed as a leader in the Astros’ clubhouse.

Granted, Gonzalez had a down year in 2018, but I don’t think it it too difficult to fathom Holt receiving offers of $10+ million per season in the coming months.

If the Red Sox were not willing to pay that much given their other well-documented salary concerns, there is a cheaper alternative in the form of Marco Hernandez, who will be entering just his first year of salary arbitration in 2020.

Since initially being recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket on June 8th, the recently-turned 27-year-old is slashing .284/.318/.402 with two homers and 10 RBI over 48 games spanning two stints with the big league club.

Like Holt, Hernandez can play all across the infield and may even be a better defender.

As MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo questions in this attached article, “Is Holt really worth something like $7-8 million more per year than Hernandez?” That will be a tough question for the Red Sox to answer in November.

 

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Author: Brendan Campbell

Blogging about the Boston Red Sox since April '17. Also support Tottenham Hotspur.

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