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Why Steve Pearce might be best fit for Red Sox

Rob Bradford
November 05, 2018 - 2:43 pm

Winning the World Series MVP was a nice feather in Steve Pearce's cap. But that should have nothing to do with the Red Sox' desire to re-sign the 35-year-old.

The impetus for the Red Sox investing is Pearce is clear-cut: He might be their best option.

On the Sox' to-do list this offseason finding a right-handed-hitting complement to Mitch Moreland is up there. Kicking off last season, that would have Hanley Ramirez. Then, after the Red Sox sent Ramirez packing, it became Pearce. For 2018, the plan all worked out, particularly in the postseason when Alex Cora's team got a 1.017 OPS out of its first baseman.

But is there a better way to go in 2019? Maybe not.

"Yeah," Pearce told WEEI.com when asked if he felt there was a much better chance at returning to Boston then he originally thought would present itself when acquired from Toronto. "I fit in with these guys. I hope to come back and defend a title with these guys next year. That’s the goal."

For what the Red Sox need, Pearce would seem to fit the bill. He tears up lefty pitching, wouldn't seemingly cost more than a couple of years at relatively cheap money and has proven his worth both in the clubhouse and in the field. If there was no history in a Red Sox uniform the first baseman would still seem a logical offseason target.

If not Pearce, then who? That's a good question.

There is always the possibility for a trade we didn't see coming. But until that is surfaced, we're left with unpacking free agent candidates. Spoiler: There aren't a lot of great fits.

Daniel Murphy might be a consideration if he didn't hit left-handed. Same goes for Lucas Duda, Logan Morrison and Matt Adams. Switch-hitting Neil Walker? He's terrible against lefties. You could force the idea of Jed Lowrie, who has played a total of 11 major league games at first base but could also help offer insurance at second. That seems like a stretch. Mike Moustakas is a pipe dream and as much as we would love to entertain it, Adrian Beltre probably isn't keen on finishing his career playing a position he has never manned.

There is always the possibility the Red Sox give Sam Travis a whirl, and if he didn't hit just .258 with a .677 OPS at Triple-A this past season moving on from Pearce would seem more likely. But Travis did put up those numbers with Pawtucket, making such a major league commitment not seem very plausible.

The wild card at some point next season could be Michael Chavis, but the timing of the infielder's progression (and familiarity with first base) doesn't allow for a realistic Opening Day conversation.

That brings us back to Pearce.

"I’m going to sit back and take it all in and hopefully something good happens with the Red Sox where I get to come back here next year," he said.

Doesn't seem like a longshot.

 

Related: A few free agents the Red Sox will be keeping an eye on

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