Former Red Sox utilityman Brock Holt has officially signed a one-year major-league deal with the Milwaukee Brewers, thus putting an end to any hope the versatile 31-year-old could return to Boston in 2020.
Although it has not been revealed how much Holt will earn in 2020, his new contract with Milwaukee does include a club option for 2021, so it could in essence be a two-year deal depending on how the coming season pans out.
A former throw-in the trade that was headlined by reliever Joel Hanrahan going from the Pirates to the Red Sox, Holt had spent the previous seven seasons with Boston.
After making his Sox debut during an up-and-down 2013 campaign, the Rice University product emerged as a fan and clubhouse favorite beginning in 2014, a year in which he finished eighth in American League Rookie of the Year voting while playing in a then-career-best 106 contests.
The 2015 season was when Holt really burst onto the scene though, as he hit for the cycle for the first time in his career on June 16th and was named to his first All-Star team a month later, being the only Red Sox player to get an All-Star nod that year.
Despite finishing in last place in the American League East for the second straight year in ’15, the Sox saw Holt become a valuable asset to their club both on and off the field.
In total, the former ninth-round pick played seven different positions over 129 games that year. It was also the first time he was recognized as the Red Sox’ nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award for his work with the Jimmy Fund, an honor he would receive three more times in his Red Sox career.
2016 saw Holt miss a significant amount of time due to concussion issues. a trend that would carry over into 2017 in what was probably Holt’s most adverse season in the majors because of vertigo.
That Vertigo hampered Holt’s productivity in what was already an odd season for the Red Sox despite them winning 93 games and clinching their second straight American League East title.
In some eyes, perhaps the hiring of Alex Cora, combined with Holt playing in just 64 games the previous year, put the Texas native’s roster spot in jeaporady heading into the 2018 campaign.
With Blake Swihart seemingly a lock to make the Opening Day roster as both the club’s third catcher and a utility player, it looked as though one of the final spots on the Sox’ bench was going to come down to Holt or Deven Marrero.
Holt seemed prepared to be dealt if that is what it came down to, but Boston ultimately traded Marrero to the Diamondbacks for a player to be named later who would turn out to be Josh Taylor.
With those trade rumors behind him, Holt got back to his consistent ways for the Sox in 2018, slashing .277/.362/.411 with seven home runs and 46 RBI over 109 games played.
That October, Holt played a crucial role for the Sox in their run to a historic World Series title. He even hit for the first postseason cycle ever in a dominating 16-1 win over the Yankees in Game 3 of the ALDS.
Trade rumors were still swirling a little bit in Holt’s final offseason before reaching free agency, but he stuck around once more and proved to be one of the better hitters on the 2019 Red Sox.
Yes, the one-time All-Star slashed .297/.369/.402 with three home runs and 31 RBI over 87 games last season, all while maintaining his role as an important veteran presence and player to look up to.
Perhaps he played his way out of the Red Sox’ price range, but the hope had been all offseason that Holt would find his way back to Fenway South this month.
That did not happen though, which is somewhat understandable given the influx of infielders Boston currently has on their 40-man roster.
Still, you cannot deny the impact Holt had on the community in Boston. He cared deeply about his role as Jimmy Fund captain, he spent his offseasons in nearby Needham, and he may have been holding out, waiting for one last offer from the Red Sox before ultimately signing with the Brewers.
You can argue that Holt’s value on the baseball field can be replaced by the group made up of Jonathan Arauz, Michael Chavis, and Jose Peraza, but that does not mean that Holt will not be missed by staff, players, and fans alike.
So, thanks for everything, Brock. Best of luck in Milwaukee. You will be missed in Boston.