The Boston Red Sox signed utilityman Steve Pearce to a one-year, $6.25 million contract, sources familiar with the deal told Yahoo Sports, reuniting the World Series MVP with the championship-winning team that hopes to further unify its title core in free agency.
The deal, which the team later announced, will pay the 35-year-old as much as he made last season, which was the highest salary of his career. A late bloomer, Pearce has solidified himself as a consistent masher of left-handed pitching and a versatile fielder who can play first and second base in addition to both corner-outfield positions.
Now on his seventh team, Pearce found a home in Boston, settling in the middle of the lineup, finishing up another typically strong season in which he hit .284/.378/.512 and unleashing hit after big hit in October. None was more vital than his eighth-inning home run off Los Angeles Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen that tied Game 4, though the pair he hit in Game 5 – a two-run first-inning shot off Clayton Kershaw and an eighth-inning dagger against Pedro Báez – were momentous, too.
They sealed Pearce’s place in Boston and exacerbated the mutual desire between the sides to get back together. The other core free agents – closer Craig Kimbrel, starter Nathan Eovaldi and reliever Joe Kelly – will cost more than Pearce and strain a Red Sox payroll already well over the luxury-tax threshold.