The Boston Red Sox’s desire to cut payroll doesn’t mean some familiar faces won’t return.
MLB.com’s Ian Browne on Friday named infielder’s Brock Holt and Mitch Moreland and pitcher Rick Porcello as the most likely free agents to return to Boston for the 2020 season and perhaps beyond. Holt, Moreland and Porcello represent half the team’s free agents, but Brown believes their versatility, positive presences in the clubhouse and affordability might open the door for them to return to Fenway Park.
“Invaluable utility man Holt has not only been a rock for the Red Sox on the field, but he’s also their leader in the community,” Browne writes. “The Sox would like to keep Holt if it is financially feasible, and Holt lives in Boston year-round. Ultimately, however, it will come down to a business decision for both the player and the team. Moreland is another respected veteran who might return if the price is somewhere around the $6.5 million salary he received in each of the last two seasons.
“While it initially seemed a foregone conclusion that Porcello would be gone, the fact he had the worst season of his career at least creates the possibility he could return on an incentive-laden, short-term deal … .”
The Red Sox enter the season hoping to cut roughly $32 million from their payroll. However, they also hope to bounce back from a disappointing 2019 campaign and contend for the World Series again. In order to do so, they’ll have to fill their various needs, while also striking a winning balance of youth, prime-age players and veterans.
Exactly what role Holt, Moreland and Porcello will play in the Red Sox’s pursuit of this high-wire act we don’t yet know, but if newly installed chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and his staff convince the trio to return on team-friendly terms, Browne will have demonstrated admirable foresight.