Travis Shaw still owns a home in Fort Myers, Fla. He routinely plays golf with some of his former Red Sox teammates. And he still communicates regularly with many of the players with Boston who the infielder came up through the Sox system with.
Oh, and by the way, the Red Sox just happen to need a left-handed-hitting first baseman who can play more than one position.
All of it hasn't been lost on Travis Shaw, who just became a free agent earlier this week.
"You’re completely right on base," Shaw said on the Bradfo Sho podcast when asked about the logical connection to the Red Sox. "I got non-tendered this week. It was kind of a hard decision. The Brewers did offer me but I decided I kind of wanted a fresh start and was willing to risk to see what was out there free agent-wise. Just wanted a fresh start after everything that happened last year. Like you said, it makes sense on paper now we’ll see with who else call or what other teams call. That’s kind of what we’re sorting through now. We’ve had quite a bit of interest so far over this week which is an encouraging sign for me. We’ll just go from there."
The Red Sox are one of the numerous teams to have touched base with Shaw's representatives since Milwaukee decided not to offer the 29-year-old a contract. According to the former Red Sox, even though he was in line for a guaranteed payday of more than $4 million for 2020 the freedom wasn't necessarily a bad thing.
A year after Shaw had combined to hit 63 home runs with an .844 OPS in 2017 and '18, he slumped badly in 2019, hitting just .157 with a .551 OPS in 86 big league games. (He explains where he believes things went wrong on the podcast.) So now it's all about convincing the world of baseball last year was an aberration.
"Not really," he said when asked if the move by the Brewers was a surprise. "It’s something me and my agent talked about a couple of weeks leading up to it. We had a lot of discussions that day with the Brewers. They put their final offer and said, ‘This is what we can do and if not we’re going to non-tender you.’ We just didn’t see eye to eye on what that offer was and we just decided to our separate ways.
"Right now I have the control. I can kind of figure out which fit is best for me. Where it looks right, where it feels right. I know I’m probably going to take a little bit of a hit financially this year compared to what I would have made in arbitration with the Brewers but that was something I was willing to risk to re-establish myself on the market hopefully this coming year. Kind of like a one-year show-me deal. That’s what we’re hoping for. We don’t know what the offers are going to be but it was something I was willing to risk moving forward. I just think if I find the right fit and the right, the right opportunity for me I can show them last year was an anomaly and kind of move forward and put that year behind me."
"I'm definitely ready for 2020," he added. "Whoever gets me is going to get a super-motivated player."