Red Sox

Red Sox sign Mitch Moreland for one year


Red Sox sign Mitch Moreland for one year

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- Having spent the early part of Tuesday addressing their bullpen and starting rotation, the Red Sox turned their attention to their offense later on and reached agreement with first baseman Mitch Moreland on a one-year, $5.5 million deal.

Moreland will likely play first base against most righthanders, with Hanley Ramirez shifting to the DH spot.

Regarded as a superb defender at first -- he won the Gold Glove for first basemen in the American League last month -- Moreland can also expect to see some time in the DH slot.

Moreland gives the Sox some power from the left side in a lineup that, in the wake of David Ortiz's retirement, leaned heavily to the right side.

Last year, Moreland had a slash line of .233/.298/.422 in what was something of a down year for him with Texas. Against righthanders, he slugged just .407, but that something of a career aberration, since, over the course of six major league seasons, he's slugged .457.

Moreland hit 22 homers, one shy of his career high (23 in both 2015 and 2013.

The $5.5 million is a relatively modest salary for the Sox, who chose not to pursue two other bats who signed one-year deals -- Carlos Beltran for $16 million with Houston and Matt Holliday for $13 million with the Yankees -- because of payroll limits and concern about exceeding the competitive balance tax (CBT) of $195 million.

In theory, the Sox can use Moreland as a one-year placeholder at first before going with Sam Travis in 2018. Travis missed nearly all of last year with a knee injury and could use more development time at first base.

Unlike most seasons since 2003, when the Red Sox could happily pencil David Ortiz in as their primary DH, the Sox don't intend to have a single DH for 2017.

Instead, following an industry trend, the club intends to use the spot as an opportunity through which it can rotate a number of players. It's expected that both Dustin Pedroia and Pablo Sandoval will each get some at-bats as the DH, thus preserving them a bit over the course of the long season.

Ken Rosenthal of Fox was the first to report the agreement in principle. Jon Paul Morosi of the MLB Network was the first with contract terms.

Strong Grapefruit League debut for Price

Strong Grapefruit League debut for Price

David Price's Grapefruit League debut was nearly perfect.

The Red Sox left-hander pitched four scoreless innings, allowing a hit and a walk and striking out five in a 7-5 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays in Fort Myers, Fla.

Price threw 55 pitches, 34 for strikes. He cruised through the first on nine pitches. He allowed the single and walk in the second.  

"It feels good. This is March 15 and I've never been able to have a four-pitch mix on March 15," Price told reporters after his start. "I've never been this far along in spring training even though I've only thrown in one game. I'm excited about that."

The Red Sox open March 29 at Tampa Bay, with Chris Sale likely to start. Price will likely pitch the second game of the season, March 30 at Tropicana Field.