Just when it seems like things cannot get any worse for Red Sox fans, of course, it gets worse.
Brock Holt is going to be a Brewer.
And Brock Holt is going to be a Brewer for no good reason.
The Red Sox trading Mookie Betts is terrible and painful, but parts of it made sense. They could have afforded him and should have been doing everything in their power to keep him for years, but he was adamant about testing free agency this upcoming offseason, so getting a return – even an unbalanced return – for him while they could made sense. And unloading David Price, proud owner of the most expensive pitching contract in MLB history who could not stay healthy, made obvious sense.
But there is no justifying letting Brock Holt go.
For starters, he can basically play any position, and has moved all over the infield and outfield for the Sox. He was ready to do anything he could to help his team win. During the 2018 ALDS against the Yankees, he famously became the first and only player in MLB history to hit for the cycle in a postseason game. And he truly embraced life in Boston; while his teammates jetted off to Miami, Aruba, anywhere with palm trees and sunshine, he spent freezing cold offseasons in Boston, because he considered this his home. Brock Holt wanted to play here for the rest of his career, and he said it all the time.
But it’s his off-field life that really makes him irreplaceable. Captain of the Jimmy Fund since joining the team in 2013, he has always gone above and beyond for Jimmy Fund patients and their families. And it was never about good PR or attention; he and his family would show up at the Jimmy Fund just to visit, without the Red Sox and their cameras. For years, he has personally hosted a Jimmy Fund family at every Tuesday home game of the regular season, spending time with them before the game, and showering them with gifts. In what feels like a never-ending news cycle of MLB players beating their wives and cheating their way to the World Series, Brock Holt was the rare player who was also a genuinely great human being.
Since Red Sox ownership only cares about money these days, I’ll speak their language. Brock Holt was a cheap option, big bang for little buck. He likely would have taken a hometown discount, because the boy from Texas had made Boston his home. He was open about wanting to spend his career here, and now he is gone, despite his salary never making any sort of meaningful dent in Boston’s massive payroll.
Keeping Brock would have gone a long way towards ownership repairing their now-severely fractured relationship with the fans they call “the best fans in baseball.” But instead, this feels like the final nail in the coffin, the ultimate middle finger towards Red Sox Nation, and fans are left wondering what they did to deserve the seemingly endless parade of pain that has befallen them this offseason.
The Red Sox not valuing what Mookie brought to the table enough to pay him was certainly a problematic indicator of their values and priorities going forward. But not valuing what Brock brought to this team and the fan base is even more concerning. His kindness, sportsmanship, and commitment to philanthropy set him apart from the norm, and it is those attributes that will be hardest to replace. Letting him go hurts all of us, but especially the Jimmy Fund kids, Red Sox Nation’s most vulnerable fans, the ones who deserve to be cherished and nurtured the most.
Thank you for everything, Brockstar. For letting us watch Griff hit big bombs, for the cycle, for what you’ve done for the Jimmy Fund, and for the joy you brought all of us. You’re the rare diamond in the rough, and Red Sox Nation will always be rooting for you, no matter what uniform you wear.