Posted on November 17, 2018, by Bryan Zarpentine
World Series MVP Steve Pearce isn’t going anywhere. After helping the Red Sox win the 2018 World Series, Pearce is staying in Boston to help them do it again. On Friday, the versatile Pearce and the Red Sox agreed to a one-year deal worth $6.25 million. He figures to continue serving the Red Sox as a platoon player and bench piece who proved in October that he has a knack for getting clutch hits.
“We’re thrilled to have Steve back with us for another year, as we think he’s a great fit for our club,” said Red Sox GM Dave Dombrowski. “Obviously, we all saw what kind of impact he can have on the field, especially with the postseason that he had. He also provides good depth and balance from the right side for us.”
Pearce began the 2018 season with the Blue Jays. However, his playing time was limited, in part because he missed six weeks of action due to an oblique strain. When the Red Sox acquired him at the end of June, it looked like a rather minor trade. At the time, the Red Sox were just looking for a right-handed hitter with a history of hitting lefties. Pearce fit that description perfectly and went on to hit .279 with an OPS of .901 in 50 games with the Red Sox.
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Of course, it was in the postseason where Pearce made his mark. In 28 postseason at-bats, Pearce hit four home runs and two doubles, driving in 11 runs. As we all know, he did most of that damage against the Dodgers during the World Series, hitting three home runs in just 12 at-bats on his way to being named series MVP.
After a performance like that, it was always going to be hard for the Red Sox to let him go. As a 35-year old journeyman, Pearce didn’t require a large financial commitment or even a long-term deal. That made it even easier for the Red Sox to bring him back, doing so as one of their first acts of the offseason.
Pearce will likely continue with the Red Sox in the same role he had during the second half of the season. That will entail him being a platoon partner with Mitch Moreland at first base. Moreland posted modest numbers against left-handed pitching in 2018, which should afford Pearce plenty of opportunities to start at first base. Pearce also has experience playing both corner outfield spots. If the Red Sox were to suffer an injury at that position, Pearce could be a temporary fill-in.
Ultimately, this move is a no-brainer for the Red Sox. Pearce gives them a veteran hitter who can mash left-handed pitching. He’s a bench player who’s fine with that role and good at it. As for Pearce, he gets to spend a full season in Boston as a cult hero in the eyes of Red Sox fans. It also doesn’t hurt that the Red Sox are among the early favorites to win the 2019 World Series.