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A look back at Brock Holt's unforgettable three days

Rob Bradford
March 24, 2018 - 9:34 pm

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Brock Holt and Deven Marrero couldn't avoid it. They knew the reality of the situation, which was leading to one of them not making the Red Sox' 25-man roster. That's why the conversation was what it was Saturday morning.

"Me and DeMo kind of came in and talked to each other, saying we wished something would happen so we knew what was going on," Holt said.

About six hours later, they got their wish: Marrero had been traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks.

"I came in the third or fourth inning and Benny said, 'Hey, DeMo got traded.' I'm like, 'No, he didn't.' He goes, 'No, I swear, he got traded.' I'm like, 'Really? We were just talking about that in the batting cage,'" Holt remembered. "We knew it was going to happen for one of us soon. I'm happy for DeMo. He's reunited with Torey [Lovullo] and Mike [Hazen] and he went to Arizona State. It's a good place for him. I'm happy for him."

The trade was seemingly the best thing that could have happened for both players.

For Marrero, it meant a commitment from the Diamondbacks to keep him on their major league roster, which was hardly a guarantee if he remained with the Red Sox. And for Holt it was some peace of mind after what had unexpectedly been an unsettling three days.

Up until his postgame interview in Port Charlotte Wednesday afternoon Holt was just cruising along like any other spring training. In his mind, he had shown the Red Sox enough to suggest the struggles fo the past season were a thing of the past. But with Marrero out of options, and representing an upgrade defensively for an infield that could potentially have some holes, the conversation and competition was reaching a tipping point with a week to go until Opening Day.

It led to questions the utiltyman wasn't expecting.

"Honestly, I really wasn't too worried about it," said Holt regarding his footing on the Red Sox roster. "I tried not to think about it. Whatever was going to happen was going to happen. I was preparing for the season, whether it was here or wherever. We lost a good man today but the Diamondbacks got a good player. I'm definitely happy to be around. I love being in Boston. I love playing for Boston. I told Cora a couple of days ago that I want to play here and that I was hoping to get that chance."

The uneasiness from the line of questioning took root with Holt to the point that he did something he had never done before: Go in and ask the manager about his lot in life.

What came out of the get-together with Alex Cora wasn't any sort of guarantee, but it was something almost as satisfying.

"I just wanted to talk to him," Holt said. "As of a few days ago, I didn't have a reason to think I wasn't on the team and then you guys bombarded with a bunch of questions. So I was like, 'What's going on?' So I wanted some clarification. I feel so comfortable with Alex it's easy to say, 'Man, can we talk.' We had a conversation. It's something I'm not used to being able to do. He didn't tell me one way or another but we had a good talk. It's nice to be able to go in there and talk to him like that. He listened. I just told him, 'I don't know what's going to happen.' And he didn't know what was going to happen. He's learning too. He's a first-year manager, learning about rosters and all that stuff. I just told him that I wanted to play here and I wanted to play for him and I was hoping to get that opportunity. I love it in Boston. It's become a home for me and my family, so I'm happy I'm still here.

I was like, 'I'm having a good camp. I feel great. I'm playing well.' And then I get asked, 'Hey man, are you worried about not making the team?' It throws you off guard a little bit. I love playing here. I love everyone in this clubhouse. The new staff is great. Who wouldn't want to play in Boston? We have a chance to do something special. I'm hoping to be part of it. I was able to go in there and say what I wanted to say and he was awesome."

While the days leading up to Saturday's trade wasn't the feeling Holt had been banking on heading into spring training's final days, he ultimately found his resolution, along with an added bonus. The infielder discovered his fate, and what he has in his new manager.

"I didn't get an answer one way or another. But he just told me, 'You control what you can control. Do what you've been doing. We'll see what happens.' I didn't come out of the meeting thinking, 'Alright!' But it was good. It's nice to have someone like that in his position who is willing to do that, listen and talk back even if it's not good news," said Holt, who is hitting .364 with a .930 OPS in Grapefruit League play with three exhibition games to play. "You can go in there and talk about it. That's good to have. I'm happy to be here and I'm hoping to be here for a while. He's great. He's been awesome. I think all of us are excited that he's here."