BOSTON -- The World Series MVP is coming back. In fact, Steve Pearce admitted he had no interest in exploring other options. The first baseman discussed his new contract with the Red Sox -- a one-year contract worth $6.25 million -- in a conference call on Monday."The team that I
BOSTON -- The World Series MVP is coming back. In fact, Steve Pearce admitted he had no interest in exploring other options. The first baseman discussed his new contract with the Red Sox -- a one-year contract worth $6.25 million -- in a conference call on Monday.
"The team that I was on and the run that we had, I'm really anxious to get back there next year," said Pearce. "It was a very easy decision."
And the same went for the Red Sox when it came to bringing Pearce back.
With left-handed-hitting first baseman Mitch Moreland also in the fold for another season, Pearce is a perfect fit complement for manager Alex Cora with his right-handed bat.
"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 president of baseball operations 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 was acquired by the Red Sox from the Blue Jays for Minor Leaguer Santiago Espinal on June 28 and became a perfect fit basically on arrival.
In 50 games, the 35-year-old Pearce slashed .279/.394/.507 with seven homers and 26 RBIs. Five of those home runs came against the Yankees, quickly making him a fan favorite.
But it was in the World Series that Pearce truly made his mark, as he had three homers and eight RBIs in 12 at-bats to help the Red Sox beat the Dodgers in five games. All four of Pearce's hits in the World Series were for extra bases.
And, yes, life has changed a little for Pearce since that World Series MVP performance.
"I'm a little bit more recognized now, and I've been kept a lot busier," Pearce said. "But I'm going to keep doing what I've been doing, and I'm going to prepare for the season, and whatever Alex wants me to do, I'll be prepared for it. That's where I'm at right now. I'm planning on taking one more week off after the holidays and then it's time to go, don't have any more time to sit around."
In 2018, Pearce had a .959 OPS against lefties and also held his own with righties, putting up an .828 mark.
With Moreland dealing with an ailing hamstring in October, Pearce started 11 of Boston's 14 games in October, hitting .289 with a 1.083 OPS.
A veteran of 12 Major League seasons, Pearce joined Kelly Johnson as the only players ever to appear in at least one game for each of the five current AL East clubs.
Pearce was happy not to have to switch teams again this winter.
"I've got some roots to finally lay down. I'm excited. It's a short offseason, so we've got to get ready to go here pretty soon," said Pearce. "This was the place I wanted to be. The team that I was on, how everything was done there, bringing everybody back -- it was a no-brainer for me. This is where I wanted to play."
Closer Craig Kimbrel, flame-throwing starter Nathan Eovaldi and righty reliever Joe Kelly are other key players from the World Series champions who are free agents this offseason.
Dombrowski said that the Red Sox could well be set from a position-player standpoint heading into next season. But there are still some moves to be made with the pitching staff, whether they are retaining key arms or making some acquisitions.
"I'd just say we're open minded," Dombrowski said. "I don't want to get too specific. There are a lot of players out there at this time, a lot of pitchers -- I think there's more bullpen guys than there are starters -- but we're just kind of open-minded and talking to guys. I don't know that a lot of guys are moving forward real fast. We just kind see what fits best for us at the particular time."
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.