The Boston Red Sox re-signed free agent first baseman Mitch Moreland to a two-year contract through the 2019 season worth $13 million, the team announced Monday.
Moreland batted .246 with 22 homers and 79 RBIs while playing in a career-high 149 games last season. The 32-year-old also set personal bests in at-bats (508), runs scored (73), doubles (34) and walks (57) in his first season with the Red Sox.
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President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski had talked about using an opening at first base or designated hitter to upgrade the offense with a middle-of-the-order power bat.
The Red Sox needed to add a first baseman to the roster to split time with Hanley Ramirez — in the event that Ramirez can’t play first on an everyday basis or even more importantly in the event he can, as the club doesn’t want him to reach enough plate appearances for his 2019 contract option to vest.
“I loved playing here, loved the guys — everything about it,” Moreland said. “Looking forward to being back and maybe taking care of some unfinished business.”
Dombrowski still thinks the Red Sox can add an impact bat that could DH, with Moreland and Ramirez sharing time at first.
“We still continue to feel that we have the opportunity to add someone else to our club from an offensive perspective,” he said. “I don’t know if it will happen or not, but there are some names out there that we’ll continue to talk to.”
Signing Moreland does cut back on the number of names out there for Boston, as it takes just about every first baseman off the radar.
Dombrowski said he’d be comfortable with the offense the Red Sox currently have going into the season, given the possibility and perhaps likelihood of internal improvement from many of the returning players.