The Red Sox signed first baseman Mitch Moreland to a one-year, $5.5MM contract over the winter, passing on bigger names in the process, and it has worked out beautifully so far, observes Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal. Boston probably would have gone a more expensive route had it not been so close to the luxury-tax threshold, which may have also cost the team a first-round pick, writes MacPherson. To this point, Moreland has held his own relative to more expensive offseason signings such as Edwin Encarnacion, Mark Trumbo, Kendrys Morales, Jose Bautista and Carlos Beltran. Moreland, an ex-Ranger, has slashed .280/.373/.480 with nine home runs in his first 260 plate appearances with the Red Sox. What’s more, the 31-year-old has transferred his strong work in the field from Texas to Boston, having racked up three Defensive Runs Saved and notched a 2.4 UZR/150.
A couple more American League-related items…
- One of Moreland’s former teammates – free agent right-hander Colby Lewis – was unwilling to return to the Rangers on a minor league contract last offseason, and he explained why to T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com. “I didn’t want to fight for a position,” Lewis said. “Here I am, I have been here forever. I’ll be 38 this season, you want to make me fight for a spot? It was a bitter pill to swallow and still is. I always wanted to wear this uniform, this is where I wanted to be.” Lewis, a Ranger from 2002-04 and 2010-16 who pitched to a 3.71 ERA/4.81 FIP in 116 1/3 innings last year, isn’t ready to call it a career. However, it doesn’t seem as if he’ll take a minors deal anywhere. While Lewis contends he’s only five to six weeks away from being major league ready, it’s difficult to imagine anyone giving him a guaranteed contract.
- Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy’s wrist is “not good” after he took a 93 mph Lance Lynn fastball off it Sunday, manager Buck Showalter told reporters (via Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com). “We took an X-ray here, saw something that concerned us,” continued Showalter. “I know he’s got a scan in the morning and we’ll have a little more definitive idea there.” It’s likely Hardy will head to the disabled list, per Kubatko, meaning the Orioles would have two regular infielders on the DL (first baseman Chris Davis is the other). Ruben Tejada, Paul Janish and Luis Sardinas are the in-house options to fill in for Hardy, notes Kubatko, though Tejada’s the only one on Baltimore’s 40-man roster. The 34-year-old Hardy isn’t exactly an irreplaceable cog at this stage of his career, evidenced by his .211/.248/.308 batting line in 239 plate appearances. The only qualified hitter with a worse wRC+ than Hardy’s (43) is Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar (19).