The Boston Red Sox and corner infielder Mike Olt have come to an agreement on a contract for the 2017 season.
Per Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe, the Red Sox have signed the former first round draft pick to a contract. Since being selected by the Texas Rangers in the 2010 amateur draft, Olt peaked at 22nd on Baseball America’s top rankings list in 2012. He also announced the signing with this video on his Instagram account.
A video posted by Mike Olt (@molt2222) on Feb 6, 2017 at 6:04pm PST
The deal will likely be a minor league contract, as he hasn’t spent consistent time in the majors since 2014 when he was a member of the Chicago Cubs. His career has been marred by injuries which have held him back from delivering on his promise as a prospect. While playing in the Dominican Winter League in November of 2012, Olt was concussed after being hit on the head by a pitch. Subsequent vision problems and balance issues have derailed his career.
After making the major league roster in Chicago, he struggled over 89 games, batting .168/.250/.330 with 100 strikeouts in 258 plate appearances. He spent just 30 games in the MLB between the Cubs and White Sox in 2015, batting .191/.255/.319. While his minor league numbers leave something to be desired, they are an improvement.
While his minor league numbers leave something to be desired, they are an improvement over the disastrous lines he posted between the Cubs and White Sox. Last year, Olt batted .253/.369/.398 with 5 home runs, 25 runs batted, 31 walks, and 58 strikeouts in 52 games between AA and AAA.
As a primary third baseman, this signing is basically a lottery pick for the Red Sox. There are obvious questions at third base, with Pablo Sandoval assuming the starting role, but Brock Holt and Josh Rutledge are on the roster to provide major league depth. The closer we get to spring training the more it seems like the team’s plan is ‘Panda or Bust’ at the hot corner. Holt’s value comes out of his ability to play multiple positions on any given day, and John Farrell would be unwise to tie him down to an everyday role at third.
Holt’s value comes out of his ability to play multiple positions on any given day, and John Farrell would be unwise to tie him down to an everyday role at third. As for Josh Rutledge, he possesses similar versatility but will be meaningful in a platoon spot.
There isn’t much to anticipate out of Olt, given his career .168 average and 37% strikeout rate. As an ex-U-Conn star and native of New England, we’ll be cheering for him to stick with the Red Sox organization.