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Boston Red Sox Roster Projection…

…that time of year again.  Kind of…I guess COVID-19 will tell us when it’s that time again…

In any event, we were planning to do this three, four, five weeks or so ago (I have kind of lost track of time, to be honest), before MLB shut down.  Let’s do it anyway.  Not sure how much change there will be in the end regardless.

And based on the bums listed on the pitching staff on the current 40-man roster, I imagine we will see most of them throughout the year at some point anyway…on top of several others not on the 40-man or not even here, to be honest.  One right off the bat, sad to say.

Actually, looking at the Red Sox active roster as it stands, it looks like the roster is actually set.  There are only 28 names on it.  Once the season starts, I believe that teams will be able to carry 29 guys for at least a short period of time.  So there’s that.

For these purposes, we will go with the original rule of having 26 guys on the Opening Day roster.  Still not going to make much of a difference.

Who knows when the season will start, or if there even will be a season?  The prospects for the 2020 Boston Red Sox season weren’t exactly glowing anyway.  Maybe a shortened season would help them?

There is talk about still trying to play as many games as possible.  With playing 7 inning doubleheaders.  Games in neutral spots.  All teams playing in one, perhaps remote location with no fans, and players sitting six feet apart in the stands.  Pitch clocks and different changes that NO ONE in baseball would EVER consider in a normal season.  A player even suggested playing the only the 10th inning in a tie game, then having a Home Run Derby to decide the outcome.  Amazing.  Baseball hasn’t exactly been quick to adopt any changes over the years to catch up with other sports.  To get young people back interested in the game.  And all that.

I mean, the changes would only be temporary.  This season only, more than likely.  But if some of these potential changes work, perhaps they can be long term changes as well?

But back to the Sox.  Maybe some of these proposed changes help them.  After trading Mookie Betts (doesn’t that seem like 3 years ago now?) and David Price, losing Chris Sale for the season, letting Rick Porcello go while adding no real relievers (or starters either, now that I think of it), most people think that their prospects for success are minimal this season.  Myself included.

The lineup should still be stout enough.  But the pitching frightens me.  And I absolutely wanted Price out of town at any cost.  The minor leagues should not provide a ton of help anytime soon.  So 2020 appears to be a “bridge year”.  Or the first of a few bridge years, to be honest.

There will be more analysis on the actual season once we get closer to figuring out if there is an actual season.  For now, we will just focus on who projects to break camp with the big club.

Starting with the aforementioned bums on the pitching staff:

Starting Rotation:

The far from “Fearsome Five”:  Eduardo Rodriguez, Nathan Eovaldi, Martin Perez, Ryan Weber, Brian Johnson

DL:  Chris Sale, Collin McHugh

Actual prospects that may make starts this season:  Tanner Houck (#10 Red Sox prospect), Kyle Hart

Additional flotsam likely to make a start or five this season:  I honestly do not see anyone else inside the organization on the current 40-man roster, any of the non-roster Spring Training invitees or on the Top 30 prospect list that would be a candidate to start any games with the big club this season.  Would have to be someone from outside the organization.  Or a collection of “openers”.  Or one guy that will start in the bullpen this season that we will talk more about in that group.  This, my friends, is quite frightening.  And, quite frankly, unacceptable.  Especially for a big market club with plenty of resources.  Sigh…

Comments:  Yikes!!  Eddie Rodriguez goes from a nice depth starter, someone with potential but who seemed to always have nagging injuries that kept him out way longer than it seemed they should, to a staff ace?  Hard to figure.  Sure, E-Rod had a real nice year last year.  And should have won 20 games, if it wasn’t for Matty Barnes in his last start.  But all of a sudden to anoint him the “ace” seems a bit much.  That being said, what is the other choice??

Eovaldi will always be remembered warmly in this region, and certainly by myself, for his performance in the 2018 playoffs.  But he is also injury-prone.  And has thrown more than 155 innings ONCE in his career.  Now he’s cemented into the #2 slot.

Perez is eminently average.  Weber has pitched 42 major league games and only 11 of them are starts.  It appears that the most innings he has pitched in a season is 128.  That was in 2015.  And 100 of them were in AA & AAA.  Plus, he stinks.

Speaking of stinking, Johnson seemed to have the lead for the #5 spot when we last were paying attention.  BRIAN F’NG JOHNSON?!!  This guy couldn’t break a pane of glass.  More importantly, he really has never been able to get anyone out.  Not to mention the fact that he was designated for assignment over the winter by the Sox…and not a single team wanted anything to do with him.  So he is back on a minor league deal.  And appears to be the #5 starter.  This is incredible to me.

Additionally, the Sox have no one “waiting in the wings” to actually provide competition once one or (likely) more of these guys fail or get hurt.  Houck is only 23 years old and MAYBE has potential.  Hart is 27 and it’s doubtful he does.

Sale is on the Injured List, as we know.  Waiting until late March to have the Tommy John surgery he needed probably 6 plus months ago (giving him the benefit of the doubt here) will cost him this season and at least part of the 2021 slate.  McHugh?  Are we really counting on him to add to the rotation?  Whenever he gets back from his injury, that is.  Last time I read something on him, no one even knew when that would be.

This is an absolute DISASTER.  Even if Chief Baseball Office Chaim Bloom brings the “opener” strategy with him from Tampa, this is still ugly.  With all the money owner John Henry has and Boston being a big market team, this is laughable.  I cannot even comprehend how these guys think entering the season with this rotation is an option.

But it’s happening.  Brace yourself.

Next:  Some of the bats.

Pure Unadulterated Gibberish…Conclusion…

Continuing on with more nonsense from the piece the other day…

*While we were talking about trade deadlines for the Celtics, we are less than impressed with the Danny Ainge’s winter partner, Boston Bruins GM Donnie Sweeney’s performance.

Donnie Hockey was able to unload Danton Heinen and his putrid contract (that Sweeney gave Heinen of course).  But Ondrej Kase?  Nick Ritchie?

Underwhelming.

Yeah, they both have “term” left on their contracts.  Love how “term” has become a hot word at each NHL trading deadline in recent years.  But a first round pick for Kase?

I guess unloading David Backes in that deal was a positive too…but the Bs are still on the hook for 3 mil of his dough.

And Kase doesn’t exactly have a storied NHL history, except for being injured.  Haven’t seen him do much since he’s been here either…other than him getting sent to the box for embellishment on Saturday night.

Sure it’s only been a handful of games.  But Kase isn’t what I envisioned for a second line right wing.  The pundits seem to love the deal and him in particular, so I guess I’ll have to give it time.  What else can I do?

Ritchie…whatever.  Heinen is gone and that makes his deal an overall plus.  But he’s miscast on the second line, I can tell you that much.

The Bruins needed scoring and they simply didn’t get it.  With Jake DeBrusk in a long funk and the Bruin power play scuffling a bit in recent games, the lack of scoring punch has been exacerbated perhaps.

I suppose nothing will matter if Tuukka plays like he has been for the most part recently…giving up some nice softies.

The Bs will be alright.  But how far “alright” takes a team in the Stanley Cup Playoffs remains to be seen.  At least they didn’t give up any of their highly touted kids.  Though a lot of their most recent highly touted kids haven’t exactly panned out…so there’s that.

Especially if they suffer from the “President’s Trophy Curse.”  Also especially, if the Tampa Bay Lightning are on a mission to avenge the first round sweep last season after winning the President’s Trophy last year and setting records in the process.  With or without Steven Stamkos.

*NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION SOCCER!!!  Started Saturday.  I’m excited!!  Are you??!!

Wait a minute, no I’m not.

And guess what?  They played to a tie in their opener.

Shocker.

*XFL.  Still no interest.

Moving on.

*The Patriots have OTHER free agents besides Tom Brady?

GO FIGURE!!

We kind of went through it all 6 weeks ago or so.  But we will take another look as the onset of free agency is upon us.

It goes without saying that I don’t think anyone really cares about the likes of Phillip Dorsett, Elandon Roberts and Shilique Calhoun.  Or even Danny Shelton, Matthew Slater, Nate Ebner or Justin Bethel.  I’d say the same about Ted Karras.

At least I feel that way.

After Brady, the key four are Joe Thuney, Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins and Devin McCourty.  Love to have them all back.  And I may actually pay Van Noy.  And slightly overpay McCourty for his leadership.

I have a hard time seeing any of that though.  Especially if Brady leaves.  The Pats may let them ALL walk as part of a total rebuild.

Thuney for sure is gone.  He will command huge dollars.  And the Pats already paid their other guard, Shaq Mason, huge dollars.  Even though the offensive line was fairly putrid overall last season, the feeling here is that they can plug in another serviceable guard for a fraction of Thuney’s cost.

I’d be wary of handing Collins another huge contract.  He wanted one the first time around here.  Got dealt for pennies on the dollar.  Then signed a huge deal with Cleveland.  And didn’t seem to make much of an impact.  He was dominant on a cheap contract early last year.  But the competition was weak.  He sort of disappeared as the schedule got tougher.

I really would consider paying Van Noy.  He fits well in the system and has turned into a very good player.  But at 16 mil plus, will the Pats pay him?  I have my doubts.

If anyone gets overpaid, it’s Devin.  But how much is too much?  He was extremely overpaid in his last deal.  He is getting up there in age.  Who is going to open the vault for him?  His leadership is invaluable, but how much is that worth?  His brother Jason is due 5.5 mil, a ton for him.  The Pats are supposed to keep him at that number.  But what if they don’t?

I do feel like Devin and the Pats work something out.  Maybe at the expense of all the other free agents.  But maybe for the leadership, it will be worth it.

That all being said, it still comes down to Brady.  If he walks, this team could possibly look entirely different next season.  Even if Brady stays it will look different.  But it could be drastic if he goes.

Fun times indeed!

*Last but not least, YOUR BOSTON RED SOX!!

Speaking of fun times!!

This honestly will be a whole nutha column upcoming.

But the Chris Sale situation last week was fun, wasn’t it?

Look, I am not a doctor, but the guy is still going to need Tommy John surgery at some point, no?  So why are they messing around?  Just do it, get him recovered and back for…I guess 2022.  He honestly should have had it last year.  All reports seem to indicate that anyway.

Ownership and Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom can call it what they want.  But this year is some sort of bridge year, right?

The offense should still be fine.  But the pitching staff?  Gross.  Especially if Sale eventually is shut down…which EVERYBODY expects.

Eduardo Rodriguez had an awesome year last year.  But would anyone be surprised if he goes something like 13-11, 4.28 this year?  I won’t.

Counting on Nathan Eovaldi to be a key guy?  Not a great idea.

And the nickel and diming the Sox brass just did to Rafael Devers?  In case you missed it, the team “came to an agreement” with all of their pre-arbitration players on contracts.  Like 20 of them or something.

The Sox “renewed” Devers’ contract.

Big difference.

Yes, the Red Sox are completely within their rights to renew contracts when they can’t come to an agreement otherwise.

But to do it to one of your best players?  Stupid.

If Raffy was asking for 10 million this year, ok.  But I am betting he wasn’t.  Probably more than the almost 700k he got.  But seeing as how all these players have to kind of “pay their dues” before they get PAID, I am betting it wasn’t an outrageous ask.  Something should have been able to have been worked out with his agent.

Again, stupid.  Great way to alienate your players.

Just ask Mookie Betts.

Just like Betts, and especially if he keeps trending up, Devers is going to remember this one.

Guaranteed.

Again, more on the Sox coming up.

But who is excited about the upcoming season?

Not many, I am afraid…

Playing catch-up…the final chapter…

This one is going to be total gibberish.  But it is what it is…

*So the Pittsburgh Penguins won the Stanley Cup.  I was actually rooting for the San Jose Sharks, with our old friend Jumbo Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau finally getting to the Finals after 18 years.  The #1 and #2 picks of the 1997 draft still getting it done.  And the organization itself.  No Cup wins or even Finals appearances.  Easy to root for them over say, the whiny Sidney Crosby.  Or the arse-clown Phil Kessel.

Pittsburgh was clearly the better team though, congratulations to them.  But Martin Jones…man.  The guy played pretty awesome.  Faced a lot of rubber.  Wish the Bruins could have players like that!  Ok, funny, I know.  He had a solid 5 day stint with the team last summer.

Listen, I have always said that I would pay very few NHL goalies ridiculous dollars, since you should be able to get a decent goalie for a reasonable price.  And it’s no secret I would deal Tuukka Rask in a heartbeat.  But a lot of Bruins fans are saying they would’ve kept Jones and that he would’ve performed better than Tuuks.  I have suggested it.  But how do we really know?  The B’s defense was so bad this year, Jones could’ve had a goals against average over 3.00 for all we know.  When Claude’s system is right, a lot of guys could play goal and look awesome.  This year, even Jonathan Quick or Patrick Roy in his prime could have been putrid with that D.

We also have to consider that no one thought the first round pick the Bruins acquired in the deal would wind up at the end of the first round.  Maybe a mid-first round pick at the time…and the Sean Kuraly kid…what if he is any good as well?  Seemed like a fairly good return for an unproven backup goalie…at the time for sure.  So I’ve changed my tune…as much as I hate to give Bruins management ANY benefit of the doubt.  Let’s let the trade play out before we bemoan the “loss” of Jones.

But let’s still trade Tuukka.

*It’s a nice gesture, ESPN bringing on Craig Sager for some sideline reporting for Game 6.  You know I have no use for sideline reporters.  But the dude is popular with…everyone.  He’s never worked the Finals, despite a long career in the game.  And everyone knows about his battle with cancer and the uncertain amount of time he has left.  ESPN doing something positive…whoda thunk it?!

*But the NBA assigning Scott Foster to ref Game 6?  Still hard to believe he’s working in the league…what with his whole connection to the Tim Donaghy gambling scandal about a decade ago.  No way Donaghy was the only guy involved and his best buddy appeared to be Foster.  Par for the course with the league when you think about it though.  Too many rumors about things in the NBA being “fixed” that you’d have to think some of the questions are legit.  And now Stephen Curry just fouled out for the first time in years…though Foster didn’t make the final foul call, I’ll give him that…

*Speaking of Game 6, it’ll be over before this is posted.  But there will be a Game 7.  The Warriors kept trying to get back into the game, but couldn’t pull it off.  Some foul trouble in this game and with Andrew Bogut out, guys like Andre Iguodala hobbling now and LeBron stepping up his game and making me look a little silly…does that mean the Cavaliers have a chance in Game 7 at Golden State?  Anything can happen, but my money’s still on the Warriors.  I just can’t see them losing at home in a Game 7.  But I’ve been wrong plenty before…

*Another banner game for Kevin Love:  12 minutes, 7 points, 3 boards, 3 fouls.  Ouch.

*Don’t look now everyone, Clay Buchholz threw another 3 innings of scoreless mop up tonight!  That’s 4 scoreless mop-up appearances out of 5.  Get ready for his re-entry into the rotation when they finally need that 5th starter again.  Can’t wait for John Farrell to put some major spin on it as well.

*Of course, seeing that the Sox actually need yet another starter with Eduardo Rodriguez not really “back” yet.  Joe Kelly is allegedly hurt in Pawtucket.  Henry Owens is still walking everyone down there as well.  Welcome to your chance at the role, Roenis Elias!!  That’s how I see it.  Yuck…

*Does Farrell know that he has Robbie Ross Jr. at his disposal?  Granted, Ross is no All-Star, but he has pitched pretty decent for the Sox since he came aboard last year.  Yet Matt Barnes has gotten the ball 8 more times than him this year.  Matt Barnes?  Why is Farrell force feeding him down our throats?  Unnecessary.

*Farrell told us in April that Chris Young got in the lineup more often than he probably should have because he “needed the at-bats to stay sharp.”  So that wouldn’t hold true for Rusney Castillo now?

*Deflategate turned 500 days old like a week or two ago.  Let’s get ready for 500 more!  In all actuality, I think I have given up.  Suspend Brady for all I care, play Jimmy Football (Garoppolo) the 4 games and go at least 3-1.  Brady comes back fresh and pissed.  The team wins a Super Bowl.  And Jimmy G gets dealt for something useful next offseason because, you know, now Jacoby Brissett is the QB of the future…

*Speaking of Jimmy Football, Johnny Football (Manziel) has been quiet…for like a week anyway.  I’ve never rooted for someone to crash and burn as badly as I have for Manziel.  I feel kind of bad about that.  But if he ever confronts me about it, he can’t say he hasn’t asked for it.

*Mike Carey got fired as CBS’ officiating “expert” last week.  Hallelujah!!!  I’ve never really rooted for anyone to lose their job…besides Farrell I guess…actually there are probably dozens more…but bear with me.  Carey was downright atrocious though.  I mean, real bad.  He only had the job for 2 years, but it felt like more.  He should’ve been gone after 2 weeks.

*Aaron Dobson apparently played well in Patriot OTA’s last week.  What a shocker.  Comes up big when the lights are off.  Can’t wait until he disappears again when it counts.  Or gets hurt.  Or both…the more likely scenario.

*Alex Khokhlachev is heading to the KHL.  Another young offensively talented guy that Claude couldn’t find room for.  Khokh may actually suck, but we will never know.  He never got a chance.

*Hey!  The “Can you hear me now” Verizon guy is now with Sprint.  Didn’t see that one coming.  There is no loyalty anywhere anymore!!

*MLB draft.  Who cares, right?  But I’d love to know more about the dude the Red Sox got.  Jason Groome.  Supposedly could have been the top overall pick but fell to #12.  Could be money concerns, could be maturity issues, could be this, could be that.  A lot of uncertainty.  Throw in the fact that he is 17 and add some more uncertainty.  Welp, I guess we will see what happens.  I can tell you this much:  I’m not expecting much from high draft pick pitchers coming directly from high school…at least in the Sox organization.

*I wish I had something more intelligent and meaningful to say about the recent deaths of Muhammad Ali and “Mr. Hockey”, Gordie Howe.  Excellent athletes in their respective sports.  But I never really saw them perform…certainly not in their prime anyway.  Sure, plenty of video exists, but it’s nothing like witnessing their feats live.  Ali of course had some political and religious beliefs that were controversial, to sum it up in one word.  But those go waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay beyond the scope of this piece.  The best I can do here is probably just “R.I.P.”, sad to say.

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