Nothing really more to say here, so…the rest:
Locks: John Simon, Chase Winovich
Out: Derek Rivers, Deatrich Wise, Nick Thurman, Tashawn Bower, Nick Coe, Trevor Hill
Comments: Rivers is another guy on the fringe. I feel like he gets one more shot, especially with only two guys in this particular category. Then again, some of the linebackers will play this role, so it’s not really two. Simon is decent but is probably not getting any better. That’s why we are hoping that Chase takes another step forward this season. And not just cuz we want to see his hair. I think time has run out on Wise, however. But somehow, he always seems to stick when his roster spot seems in jeopardy. So we cannot even rule him completely out at this point.
Locks: Lawrence Guy, Adam Butler, Beau Allen
In: Byron Cowart
Out: Bill Murray, Courtney Wallace Jr.
Comments: Seems like not drafting a defensive tackle almost gives Cowart the last spot here. Let’s just hope Allen is good. The local press loves Guy and Butler has his moments. But it’s not that impressive of a group, let’s be real.
Locks: Dont’a Hightower, Ja’Whaun Bentley, Anfernee Jennings, Josh Uche
In: Shilique Calhoun, Brandon Copeland
Out: Terez Hall, Cassh Maluia, Kyahva Tezino, De’Jon Harris
Comments: Big year for Bentley as we noted in the last piece. And we believe that Uche and Jennings will see plenty of action out of the gate. It would be nice if Hightower continues playing most of the games. Always seemingly banged up, Dont’a has actually played 15 of the 16 games in the last two seasons. You’d think he’d want to be out there in a contract year, so hopefully the trend continues. It’d better. This group is full of a whole lot of unknowns and perhaps special team types like Calhoun. And Copeland came from the Jets, so how good can he be?
Locks: Stephon Gilmore, J.C. Jackson, Jonathan Jones, Jason McCourty, Joejuan Williams
Out: D’Angelo Ross, Lenzy Pipkins, Miles Bryant
Comments: Really about as cut and dried as you can get. No questions here. People are floating Gilmore’s name as a potential trade candidate, but I don’t see it. He does make a ton of dough and as a result of him being the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year last season, he probably wants more. After this season I could see the Pats moving on from him in some fashion. But if they want to win games this year, the secondary is going to have to be a big part of the game plan. And ditching Gilmore won’t help that.
Locks: Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung, Kyle Duggar
In: Adrian Phillips, Terrance Brooks
Out: Adarius Pickett, Malik Gant
Comments: Brooks has been the odd man out on several projections I have seen thus far. But Bill loves his special teamers. So I think he sticks. Not to mention that Chung took a beating last season, Duggar is unproven and we will see about Phillips. Duggar may not even play much on defense this season if I had to take a stab. Just a hunch. I would guess he needs some transition time as he heads from Division II to the NFL. Maybe it won’t be a long and/or hard transition. We will have to wait and see on that. But he will return plenty of punts though, so he’s going to have that going for him. As long as Edelman isn’t doing that, it works for me. Oh yeah, and as long as Sanu is never, ever, ever back there again either.
Locks: Justin Rohrwasser (K), Jake Bailey (P), Joe Cardona (LS), Matthew Slater (ST), Justin Bethel (ST), Brandon Bolden (ST), Brandon King (ST)
Out: Cody Davis (ST)
Comments: Davis will find himself on the roster to begin the year as well. They gave him a fat 1.5 mil, so he kind of is earmarked for it, no? I just had to leave him off for the number’s sake right now. You know how it works…players get hurt and traded and some turn out to be useless. Then an undrafted guy or three make some noise in camp and they can’t slip through to the practice squad. Or they may actually be pretty good or at least can fill a niche role on the squad on Opening Day. And as a result, everyone’s projections look stupid. Rumor has it that Davis is a pretty good special teams guy, so there will always be room for him on Bill’s roster. I mean, can you ever have enough guys that play solely special teams?
So that is that, another fun exercise for guys like me only probably. With the season months away and training camp not even close, this projection means about as much as all the others out there. Zero. Nada. Absolutely nothing. But that’s ok.
Bottom line, let’s just hope there is a season in 2020.
…because a) everyone else is doing it and b) we are really scraping together things to actually write about in the sports world…
No need for further introduction, except for again, no one is “Way Out” at this time of year, so we are skipping that usual category. Oh, and since we have no idea on who most of the undrafted free agents are at this point, we won’t really comment much about them…not until we get to see a little of them in the preseason anyway. If there is a preseason, that is.
Locks: Jarrett Stidham, Brian Hoyer
Out: Brian Lewerke, J’Mar Smith
Comments: If not taking a quarterback, even late, in the draft doesn’t tell the world that the Pats are going with Stidham, I don’t know what else will do it. There is a groundswell of support for starting Hoyer and giving the kid extra games to “be ready”, but why bother? Just give the kid the job and let him run with it. And if he sucks, STILL let him run with it. Because then they may be able to play “Tank for Trevor (Lawrence)” or “Fail for (Justin) Fields”. I doubt it will ever get to that point actually. But we know what Brian Hoyer is. And it ain’t an NFL starting QB. So leave him with the headset and clipboard and let the kid sink or swim. If the Patriot brain trust is apparently that confident in Stidham, shouldn’t the rest of us be also?
Locks: Sony Michel, James White, Damien Harris
In: Rex Burkhead, Dan Vitale (FB)
Out: Jakob Johnson (FB), J.J. Taylor
Comments: Rex is a popular potential salary cap casualty, as previously noted. But we think he sticks around as the Pats will presumably lean on the ground game more. We gave three options for James Develin in the pre-draft projection, he could be released, put on Injured Reserve or the Physically Unable to Perform list. Didn’t even think of “retire”. Stupid. That one should have been kind of obvious. But that doesn’t lock in Vitale I don’t think. Not yet anyway. And it has nothing to do with Jakob potentially beating him out either.
Locks: Julian Edelman, N’Keal Harry, Mohamed Sanu
In: Damiere Byrd, Jakobi Meyers
Out: Marqise Lee, Gunner Olszewski, Quincy Adeboyejo, Devin Ross, Will Hastings, Sean Riley, Isaiah Zuber, Jeff Thomas
Comments: No way the Pats let Sanu go as a cap casualty after they dealt a second rounder for him and he was useless last season. Byrd is the frontrunner to return kicks, so he probably sticks. Meyers had a good rapport with Stidham last preseason and showed some promise during the year. Hard to believe the Pats give up on him now. Lee seems like a flyer to see if he has anything left. Thomas would have supposedly been drafted if he didn’t have off-field issues. Sounds like a solid practice squad candidate to me. Hastings is interesting because he changed positions in college to receiver from…kicker? How does that happen? Sorry Gunner. Nice story last year. But there are too many waaaaay better options this time around.
Locks: Devin Asiasi, Dalton Keene
In: Matt LaCosse
Out: Ryan Izzo, Rashod Berry, Jake Burt
Comments: Think they keep the veteran LaCosse around to help bring the two draftees along. Maybe Matty has shaken the injuries and actually has something to show. They could keep Izzo for cheaper. But since he has been largely hurt for his two seasons here and not necessarily good when out on the field, my guess is he can slide to the practice squad for the time being.
Locks: Isaiah Wynn (LT), Joe Thuney (LG), David Andrews (C), Shaq Mason (RG),
In: Marcus Cannon (RT), Korey Cunningham (T), Jermaine Eluemunor (G), Yodny Cajuste (T), Hjalte Froholdt (G/C)
Out: Michael Onwenu (G), Najee Toran (G), Justin Herron (T), Dustin Woodard (C)
Comments: Could be some moving pieces here before the start of the year. If the Pats and Thuney can’t hammer out an extension for some cap relief, he could be dangled. Also, did you know that Cannon has the FIFTH highest cap charge on the books for 2020? The team has about 2 million of cap room left and still need to sign all of their draft picks. Sure, other guys could get released or they could restructure. But if most of his 9.6 mil comes off in a cut, this may be an easy one. Remember how bad he sucked last year?
It’s doubtful the Pats go this route, but I suppose you never know. The four dudes that are “in” aren’t necessarily so. But hard to believe that Cunningham and Eleumunor get axed, despite playing sparingly last season. The team gave up picks to get them. Then again, neither could play over the immortal (and royally horrific) Marshall Newhouse last season, so there is that. They also gave Jermaine a 2.1 mil tender. So maybe they have some hopes for him, in particular. Cajuste and Froholdt were 2019 draftees that spent all year on injured lists. Hard to see them not getting another chance. Though I’d love to find a way to get Onwenu on the roster. Because I think he ends up on it when the real season starts. Just can’t find the space for him on this right now.
Next: Defense and specialists.
…wrapping things up…
The gasoline club: Brandon Workman, Matt Barnes, Heath Hembree, Ryan Brasier, Marcus Walden, Josh Taylor, Darwinzon Hernandez, Austin Brice
Actual prospects that may contribute this season: I’d normally say Bryan Mata (#4), perhaps with a cup of coffee to give him a brief taste, but with the state of the world, the uncertain status of the season and the fact that he is not on the 40-man roster at the current time, the chances are probably slim. No other prospects will be up this year. Even if you are rooting for Jay Groome (#7) to make it up. Sorry.
Additional flotsam likely to make an appearance or twenty this season: Check this list out: Colten Brewer, Matt Hall, Chris Mazza, Josh Osich, Mike Shawaryn, Jeffrey Springs, Phillips Valdez, Trevor Hildenberger, Mike Kickham, Bobby Poyner…and just about anyone else off the scrap heap. Luminaries.
Comments: It would be one thing entering the season with a rotation like they are if they had a bunch of good bullpen arms.
But guess what? No can do with that.
Who in the world expects Workman to duplicate last season? Or even approach it? Barnes is useful, especially if not overworked. But what are the chances that doesn’t happen again with this motley crew? Plus, he’s nowhere near a closer. So if Workman returns to Earth, who’s next? Brasier? We’ve seen that movie before. There’s simply no one else capable of closing on the staff.
Hernandez should be in the rotation, as referred to in the starters’ analysis, despite being fairly electric out of the ‘pen last season in his stint with the club. Of course, he walked way too many guys, so there’s still some work to be done. Perhaps he should be starting games in Pawtucket this year instead of pitching the 5th-6th inning once a week in Boston. Maybe he can close? But again…the walks…
Walden had a nice run until late last year. There are reasons why guys like him and Brasier spend a decade in the minors. We are likely to see why with Marcus this year. And started to late last season. Hembree is a great 4th-6th inning guy. Taylor was a surprise and I’d like to see more. But I said that about Travis Lakins too…and Lakins is long gone. Brice? Whatever.
The last group of names starting with Brewer? Yuck. But they will all pitch innings for the big club this year. Provided there is some sort of length to the season. Actually, even with a half a season they all should make an appearance.
That should excite no one.
This entire staff is kind of putrid. And any kind of injury to one or two of the “better” arms would be an even bigger nightmare. The team is not going to trade any prospects to get better arms, so forget about that. Not sure I want them doing that anyway.
So what you see is what you will get. Once again, brace yourself…
Unquestioned starters: Andrew Benintendi (LF), Jackie Bradley Jr. (CF), Kevin Pillar (RF), J.D. Martinez (DH)
DL: Alex Verdugo (LF/CF/RF)
Actual prospects that may contribute this season: Marcus Wilson (#21)
Additional flotsam possibly seeing major league time this season: None
Comments: Yup, no Mookie Betts here…so I guess it is official. I suppose it truly won’t be official until we see Pillar in his spot on Opening Day. But still…and I guess by then it could still be Verdugo in right instead. Methinks that with Alex’s back injury and he being young and a big part of the Mookie deal, that the Sox will be overly cautious with him, maybe even throughout the entire season. Especially with MLB likely trying to stuff as many games as they can on the schedule.
My bigger hope is that we see Pillar in center and Verdugo in right on Opening Day, with Bradley being on a completely different team. But that’s been my hope for several years now, the latter part anyway. With any luck, he will start off hot, and at some point in the middle of that, before the trading deadline (whenever that will be), the Sox can pawn him off for something useful. Probably wishful thinking there as well. I’m still at the very least praying that the Sox let him leave when he becomes a free agent after the 2020 season.
Ok, enough about JBJ.
But speaking of the trading deadline, don’t be shocked if J.D. is moved then. I don’t believe the Sox wanted him to opt-in to his contract this past offseason. No one believes the team wanted him to opt-in. And that’s even if they were “able to keep” Mookie by cutting Martinez’ costs.
I think the Sox wanted both of them gone. For “payroll flexibility”. Along with David Price. And maybe even Nathan Eovaldi.
That’s how I see it anyway.
As for J.D., let’s hope he is able to start the year out well. I mean, he made a big deal about not being able to see video between each at bat. Does that really matter? Can’t he watch tape AFTER every game to analyze? Doesn’t matter if we think it matters. HE thinks it matters. So let’s just hope that this doesn’t get into his head and he sucks this year. Don’t ever rule this kind of stuff out with the way professional athletes are so fragile these days.
As for the actual on field product, it’s not horrible. Especially if Verdugo can pan out. Not to mention if Benintendi can actually get back on the upward trajectory again. Pillar was a great signing for the cost, positional flexibility, speed and defense. JBJ has his moments. And honestly, J.D should be fine.
Yeah, there will be no Mookie. And none of these guys will be him either. Nor will Marcus Wilson, if you were wondering. Or any other prospects…this season anyway.
With all the salary paring, will this be the year Rusney Castillo makes it back to the majors? Unlikely. Unfortunately, while he made a ton of dough on the deal, he likely cost himself a major league career at the same time.
Sure, he gets to play baseball every day for a living, albeit in the minors. But wouldn’t he have preferred to take a little less to actually see time in the majors?
Maybe he wasn’t good enough for the majors. But with the amount of stiffs floating around the major leagues, my guess is that he could have been a 4th outfielder somewhere. For some time anyway. Maybe he gets a starting gig on a bad team.
But we will never know. And for all we know, he is just counting his money and doesn’t give a rat’s arse.
There doesn’t appear to be anyone else that should see time in the outfield for the Sox this season, unless they come from outside the organization.
So if you were hoping to see #8 prospect Jarren Duran (Colby??!), you’ll have to wait at least another year or two.
Even without Mookie and with JBJ, I am not going to lose a whole lot of sleep over the outfield, or even the offense in general. It’s the pitchers that scare the bejesus out of me. Either way, here’s hoping the season will get off the ground in the first place…and soon!