The Red Sox have ‘had some talks’ with free-agent first baseman Mitch Moreland about a potential reunion, according to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo.
Cotillo reported over the weekend that the Sox would like to add ‘a left-handed hitting bench bat’ to complement the right-handed hitting Bobby Dalbec at first base.
Moreland, a left-handed hitter, obviously fits that mold.
The 35-year-old spent 3 1/2 seasons with Boston — signing three separate contracts with the club — from 2017 until August 2020, at which point he was dealt to the San Diego Padres.
Moreland was having a superb year up until that trade, posting a .328/.430/.746 slash line to go along with eight home runs and 21 RBI over 20 games and 73 plate appearances.
That level of production decreased significantly upon Moreland’s arrival in San Diego, but you can make the argument that the Red Sox benefitted immensely from jettisoning one of their hottest players at the plate.
For one, trading Moreland opened up a spot for Dalbec to get called up regularly play first base for the remainder of the 2020 campaign. The 25-year-old rookie went on to crush eight homers himself while collecting 16 RBI in just 23 games (92 PAs) in his first go-around in the majors.
Second, in return for Moreland, Boston received infield prospect Hudson Potts and outfield prospect Jeisson Rosario from San Diego. The two minor-leaguers are currently regarded by MLB Pipeline as top-20 prospects within the Sox’ farm system after both were added to the club’s 40-man roster in November.
Moreland, meanwhile, struggled in his new role with the Padres, as previously mentioned. And even though he did not perform at the highest of levels, it still came as somewhat of a surprise to see the Friars decline the former All-Star’s $3 million club option for the 2021 season this past fall.
So, the Red Sox got two of their better prospects in exchange for a few weeks of Moreland’s services. Not too shabby.
Now that Moreland is once again a free-agent and still remains unsigned, though, a reunion between the two sides certainly seems palpable.
The Gold Glove-caliber first baseman was revered as a clubhouse leader in his time with Boston who was more than capable of coming up in clutch spots when needed.
At this stage of his career, Moreland likely is not looking to be an everyday player, and could even be willing to take a backseat to someone like Dalbec while also DH’ing and coming off the bench in pinch-hitting situations.
If the two were to form some sort of platoon, Moreland does own a lifetime .256/.325/.469 slash line against right-handed pitching.
It also doesn’t hurt that, even before these rumors emerged, the Mississippi State product talked to fellow former Bulldog Hunter Renfroe about what it was like to play in Boston before the newest Red Sox outfielder signed with the club in December.
At the end of the day, whether Moreland returns to the Sox is presumably dependent on A. what his market looks like and B. how the Red Sox front office views him.
Moreland was one of the first free-agents Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom signed to a major-league contract, so there is a connection there.
Moreland’s bond with Red Sox manager Alex Cora cannot be forgotten about, either.
Then again, as Cotillo tweeted, other options — such as Brad Miller and Marwin Gonzalez — are in the mix as well.
(Picture of Mitch Moreland: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)