When the Boston Red Sox signed Pablo Sandoval to a 5 year/$95 million contract, they expected to have a cornerstone player for the length of the contract. The hot corner was set and they would have the eventual David Ortiz replacement.
Here we are in the 2017 season, and the Sox have less options at 3rd than they did before they signed Sandoval. Pablo has spent more than half the season hurt, even being sat out of games. Brock Holt has been dealing with vertigo for quite some time and his return is unknown. Travis Shaw was traded for a reliever that has yet to debut for the Red Sox in Tyler Thornburg. Others in Deven Merrero and Josh Rutledge have been plugged in, but they aren’t long-term solutions. The Sox have a great prospect in the rankings in Rafael Devers, but he’s still a few years away. What should the Red Sox do in the mean time? Let’s take a look at a few options.
Sign a Free Agent in 2018
Although the 3rd base options aren’t a plethora, there are a few worth looking at. Todd Frazier is the 1st that comes to mind. Although he hits for a low average (career .248 hitter), he has averaged 35 home runs over the last 3 seasons. His right handed power would work well with 81 games against the green monster left field fence. Defensively, Frazier doesn’t get as much credit as he should. Overall, his power and plus glove could make Frazier a decent short-term fit in the hot corner.
Another player that the Sox could pursue would be Mike Moustakas. Not necessarily known to be a power hitter, Mike has 17 home runs on the season. That ties him for 5th in the league. The Boston Red Sox as a team have 60, with no one over 9. Clearly the presence of a power hitter is lacking in the Sox lineup. The addition of Moustakas would add a power left handed bat that the Sox sorely lack. He may command a big contract with the type of year he’s having, so the Sox may not pursue him.
Other less likely possibilities would be Eduardo Nunez and Yunel Escobar. Due to contract demands and age, neither player seems likely to land in beantown.
Sign Jhonny Peralta
Jhonny Peralta was recently released by the St. Louis Cardinals. Although he’s been very unproductive in 21 games this season, Peralta was an all-star just 2 seasons ago. The least Boston can do is sign him and try him out. Peralta is a better caliber of player than the combination of Merrero/Rutledge that the Sox have been throwing out there. The Cardinals will be paying his full salary, meaning any team that signs Jhonny will only have to pay a pro-rated portion. His potential along with dirt cheap salary should make it a no brainer for the Sox to sign him.
Frazier and Moustakas are both very solid players, but their contracts will be above the $10-15 million dollar range. The Sox have too much money tied up to players that aren’t performing and can’t afford another bad contract. The likeliest possibility is that the Sox sign Peralta to hold down 3rd base. Once Devers is ready to take over at the hot corner, the position should be his.