The most interesting outside candidate is Michael Chavis, coming off PED suspension and mediocre results, who is projected for a .248/.300/.439 batting line. The good news is that the Steamer projections are fairly conservative in this author’s opinion. Let’s take a look.
Steamer 2019 projection: 350 PA, .251/.325/.441.329 wOBA, 1.1 Batting Runs, -1.1 Baserunning Runs, 1.8 Fielding Runs, 0.7 WAR
Moreland was a shrewd signing by the Red Sox in the 2016 off season that worked out very well. His subsequent two-year deal has also worked out well, although you’d want more out of your starting first baseman than 0.6 WAR. In a pure platoon situation, it’s very possible that Moreland greatly outperforms his .251/.325/.441 batting line projection. In 2018, he hit only .242/.305/.379 against lefties and .246/.331/.450 against righties. He’s only earning $6.5 million in 2018, just as he did in 2017, so he’s not exactly breaking the bank. Also, he is a plus fielder. With a little luck and having Pearce around all season, he could break 1 WAR
Steamer 2019 projection: 280 PA, .266/.344/.470, .350 wOBA, 5.7 batting runs, -0.3 Baserunning Runs, 0.6 Fielding Runs, 1.1 WAR
Since Pearce is primarily a lefty masher, it’s not outrageous to expect about 1.1 WAR from Pearce. He’s making $6.25 million in 2019, about the same as Moreland. He’s a worse fielder, but if he mostly plays first, that won’t matter so much. Also, if he keeps up his improved walk rate from 2018, he’s likely even more valuable than this.
The other guys may not amount to much, although Chavis is interesting in that he projects for a nearly league-average batting line. He also can play third base, if erratically. If Chavis shows something this year in AAA, the Sox may call him up in 2019.
All in all, this is an above average group at first base. It’s hardly exciting, but there’s a little upside here. This is not an area the Sox have to work on right now, especially if Chavis / Sam Travis can essentially replace Moreland in 2020.
Red Sox First Basemen: C-plus