After playing every position in the field each of the past two seasons, Brock Holt settled for playing five of the seven in 2016, making the majority of his starts at right field and third base. The super utility man ended his 2016 campaign with a .255/.322/.383 line in 94 games, numbers slightly down from his 2015 All-Star campaign, likely due to the extended time he missed with a concussion. The 28-year-old started all three postseason games for the Red Sox in 2016, batting .400 with a home run and an RBI in the process. Although he isn't an everyday starter at third base, with the departures of Travis Shaw and prospect Yoan Moncada via trade this offseason, it is likely Holt will see a handful of starts at the hot corner, and he could see a great deal of action at third if Pablo Sandoval struggles. Regardless, he will head into the season as Boston's super utility option once again.
Holt and non-roster invitee Josh Rutledge will compete with Pablo Sandoval for the starting third base job, Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal reports. Sandoval has the inside track on the job, but manager John Farrell is keen on letting player performance dictate the starter. A similar thing happened last season when Travis Shaw wrested the starting job from Sandoval, whose season eventually ended early with a shoulder injury.
Holt agreed to a one-year deal with the Red Sox on Friday, avoiding arbitration. The terms of the agreement were not disclosed. This was Holt's first year as an arbitration-eligible player. He figures to serve in a super utility role once again in 2017, and therefore only has value in deeper formats.
Holt was Boston's starting third baseman for Wednesday night's game against the Yankees. It was the first time he started two consecutive games at third base since Aug. 16-17. Holt walked twice and went 0-for-1 before being lifted for a pinch hitter in the eighth inning against a left-handed pitcher. As manager John Farrell wrestles with an unsettled situation at third base, he appears content to play the platoon splits -- Holt is getting starts against right-handers over Travis Shaw, while Aaron Hill gets the nod against lefties.
Holt went 1-for-2 as Boston's starting third baseman in Tuesday night's loss to the Yankees. It was the fourth start in the last five games for Holt. Each of the last two seasons, Holt's bat waned in the second half of the season under the 162-game grind, but injuries have limited to 89 games and he's relatively fresh in September. He's riding a modest four-game hit streak (6-for-15) and has started at third base three times in the last nine games. Holt appears to be heating up at the right moment; his resurgence comes at a time when manager John Farrell is looking for someone to earn the starting nod at the hot corner as Boston enters the postseason. Holt, Travis Shaw and Aaron Hill are in the mix at third base, but none have provided a consistent bat.
Holt went 2-for-4 with an RBI double and a run in Saturday's 6-4 win over the Rays. Holt opened the scoring on the evening with a two-bagger to left center in the second that brought home Mookie Betts and added a single later in the contest. The production extended Holt's very modest hitting streak to three games, while the RBI was only his second of September. The 28-year-old is now slashing .264/.326/.397 with seven homers and 34 RBI in 2016.