The strategy last winter for the Red Sox was pretty clear: Aside from a couple of exceptions, get the band back together. Boston aggressively ran back the same roster that put together the best season in franchise history and the best season in the game over a 20-year period. We know how that ended, as a lot of the 2018 heroes just couldn’t repeat themselves in 2019. Among them, of course, was Steve Pearce. The veteran first baseman, currently a free agent, told Rob Bradford of WEEI that he was “unofficially retired.”
What exactly does that mean? Well, I’m not sure! I guess it means that he is just accepting that he is not going to get a major-league contract and he doesn’t want to sign a minor-league deal with a low probability of earning a role. That’s if there even is a minor-league deal out there for him.
It’s an abrupt ending for a career that was, for a long time, underrated. Obviously his heroics in 2018 will be his legacy in Boston and probably throughout baseball as a whole. Pearce, of course, won the World Series MVP that year thanks to three home runs in the series. Even beyond the playoff heroics, he was a major factor after being traded to Boston, putting up a 141 OPS+ after the deal. This past year did not go so swimmingly. Injuries limited the veteran to only 29 games and 99 plate appearances, and when he was able to play he struggled mightily at the plate, finishing the year with a 32 OPS+.
Over his entire career he was a fantastic right-handed platoon bat who, at times, looked like he could be a solid everyday player. Clearly this was not a Hall of Fame career, but he carved out a role for a decade and, as Bradford notes, he now qualifies for a full pension in retirement. Assuming the unofficial becomes official, Pearce will be one of those guys most fans randomly remember a few more times from this era. For Boston fans, though, he’ll always be a World Series legend.