As the Boston Red Sox get down to business in Fort Myers, let’s take a projected look at the 25 players that will break camp with the team at the end of March and be on the Opening Day roster against the Baltimore Orioles.
Players in bold are projected to either be a starter or have a regular bullpen role. Players in plain text are projected to be on the bench while those players in italics are on the bubble.
All players listed are on the 40-man roster.
Catchers: A. J. Pierzynski, David Ross, Dan Butler, Ryan Lavarnway, Christian Vasquez
The battle for two spots, we project, has been settled. Pierzynski will be the primary catcher and Ross will be the backup.
Lavarnway and Butler are only up in an injury situation while Vasquez is not ready.
We are making these projections based on the Red Sox not re-signing Stephen Drew to start at shortstop.
The four starting positions, in our view, are settled. Outside of Carp, the last spot should either go to the newly acquired Herrera or Holt. With Herrera’s experience, the nod goes to him for the time being. A hot spring by Holt, Drew re-signing, or a bad spring by Herrera will tip the scales towards Holt.
Cecchini will get an extended look but will start the year in the minors, probably Triple-A Pawtucket.
If you think Lavarnway’s trial at first base keeps him up, forget it. He needs the team bus to find a sinkhole.
Outfielders: Shane Victorino, Jackie Bradley Jr., Daniel Nava, Jonny Gomes, Grady Sizemore, Bryce Brentz, Alex Hassan
We feel comfortable in saying these starters are locked down. Sizemore is not only going to have to show he can hit major league pitching after three years away from the game, Bradley Jr. is going to need to have a horrible spring to lose that center field job.
Of the three players in italics, Sizemore has the best chance of making the team and be the fifth outfielder. Do not forget Carp can also play left, as well.
If Brentz and Hassan tear the cover off the ball, you never can say never, but they are going to need a big injury up the line to crack the roster.
Designated Hitter: David Ortiz
Maybe Ortiz wrestles an alligator the wrong way. Barring that or some other injury, he is your DH.
Carp, provided he is not traded, would be the fill-in.
Starting Pitchers: Jon Lester, John Lackey, Clay Buchholz, Jake Peavy, Ryan Dempster, Felix Doubront
The only battle is for the fifth spot. Dempster, by virtue of his experience, has the edge over Doubront, and probably Brando Workman, coming in. However, all three pitchers will see extra work in camp to determine the camp.
Do not be surprised to see either Dempster or Doubront’s name turned to italics. Barring injury, that battle may just be for the 25th spot.
Relief Pitchers: Koji Uehera, Junichi Tazawa, Craig Breslow, Edward Mujica, Andrew Miller, Brandon Workman, Burke Badenhop, Drake Britton, Rubby De La Rosa, Anthony Ranaudo, Allen Webster, Alex Wilson, Stephen Wright
Of the names in italics, Badenhop has the best chance to break camp on the roster as the others are likely to be returned to minor league camp over the course of March.
Having said that, there are a number of pitchers the Red Sox have signed to minor league deals that could break through.
The bolded names we feel are going to start the season in the majors, but injuries and trades can shake it up in a hurry.
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