Why Brock Holt is Still a Free Agent

Why Brock Holt is Still a Free Agent

by February 7, 2020 0 comments

Pitchers and catchers report in less than a week, and one of the most well-liked players in baseball remains without a job. That player is Brock Holt.

The 31-year-old had found a home in Boston for the past seven years, and emerged as one of their most valuable pieces in their 2018 World Series title. Even though they were unable to defend that title, Holt himself had an impressive season with the bat. In 295 plate appearances across 87 games, Holt posted career-highs in batting average (.297) and on-base percentage (.369), while playing solid defense at six different positions.

Many thought Holt would be one of the most sought after utility-men this free agency period, but the exact opposite has happened.

Why?

Baseball has grown almost positionless with all of the defensive shifts. Look no further than ex-Brewer Travis Shaw showing that he could play second base at a league-average level for 39 games in 2018. Consequently, that mindset has trickled through the rest of the majors, causing the desire for a utility-man to drop quite a bit.

On top of that, Brock Holt’s production on the field is slightly above average.

Since the start of 2018, Holt has a wRC+ of 106 (six runs above league average) and an OPS+ that’s just five points above league average (105). Mix that with a career fWAR/150 of 1.4 and lack of a defined position, it’s just not an overly-attractive commodity to a team looking to win the World Series or sign veteran players hoping to attract a nice haul of prospects at the trade deadline.

Looking across the league, every contending team seems to have an idea of who their utility-man will be in 2020.

New York Yankees: Tyler Wade – 2B/OF – $583,000*
Boston Red Sox: Jose Peraza – 2B/SS – $3 million
Tampa Bay Rays: Michael Brosseau – OF/2B/1B/3B – $583,000*
Cleveland Indians: Christian Arroyo – 2B/SS/3B – $583,000*
Minnesota Twins: Luis Arraez – 2B/3B/SS/LF – $583,000*
Houston Astros: Jack Mayfield – 2B/3B/SS – $583,000*
Oakland A’s: Franklin Barreto – OF/SS/2B/3B – $583,000*
Los Angeles Angels:
Tommy La Stella – 3B/2B/1B – $3.25 million
New York Mets:
Luis Guillorme – SS/2B/3B – $583,000*
Atlanta Braves:
Johan Camargo – OF/IF – $1.7 million
Philadelphia Phillies:
Scott Kingery – OF/SS/3B/2B – $1.5 million
Milwaukee Brewers:
Luis Urias – SS/2B/3B – $583,000*
St. Louis Cardinals:
Yairo Muñoz – OF/3B/SS/2B – $583,000*
Chicago Cubs:
Daniel Descalso – 2B/3B – $2.5 million
Cincinnati Reds:
Kyle Farmer – IF/C – $583,000*
Los Angeles Dodgers:
Enrique Hernández (2B/OF – $5.9 million) and Chris Taylor (SS/OF – $5 million*)
San Diego Padres:
Greg Garcia – 2B/3B/SS – $1.5 million

(*estimated salary in 2020)

If every so-called contending team already has somebody slated in that utility role, they don’t have a need to sign the 31-year-old free agent, despite there being an added roster spot this season.

The Red Sox very well could reunite with Brock Holt, as they’re projected to have opened up roughly $30 million when/if the Mookie Betts and David Price trade to the Dodgers is official. They love Holt, and he is critical to the team’s chemistry on top of being Jimmy Fund Captain. However, for the time being, it looks like the 2015 All-Star will be waiting for employment.

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