4:05pm: There is “strong buzz” at the Winter Meetings suggesting the Red Sox could sign Moreland, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN tweets.
10:27am: Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets that Boston is “strongly in the mix” for Moreland.
10:17am: The Red Sox are in on first baseman Mitch Moreland, tweets Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, who also notes that the Indians are in the mix for Moreland. The Rangers, according to Wilson, are “out” on Moreland, who has spent his entire career to date in a Rangers uniform. Moreland could be nearing a decision, Wilson further reports.
The 31-year-old Moreland had a big 2015 in Texas (.278/.330/.482) but slipped up in 2016, struggling to a .233/.298/.422 batting line in 503 plate appearances. Moreland would give either club a left-handed option at first base/designated hitter, but he’d need a platoon partner, as he’s a career .240/.295/.378 hitter against left-handed pitching. He has, however, hit at least 22 homers in each of his past three healthy seasons (an ankle injury limited him to 52 games in 2014).
Boston obviously has an opening at DH and has reportedly been averse to the idea of signing a designated hitter to a long-term deal. Moreland could present a shorter-term option. As for Cleveland, the reigning AL champions could lose Mike Napoli to free agency, and given Napoli’s reported preference for a lucrative three-year deal, Moreland could represent both a younger and more affordable option for Cleveland. The Indians have also been tied to Edwin Encarnacion, but it’s not clear exactly how high they’d be able to go in that pursuit. At the very least, it seems that president of baseball ops Chris Antonetti, GM Mike Chernoff and the rest of the Cleveland front office are exploring multiple avenues as they look to add some offense at first base/DH.