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Boston Red Sox Roster Projection…Pt III…

…wrapping things up…

Bullpen:

The gasoline club:  Brandon Workman, Matt Barnes, Heath Hembree, Ryan Brasier, Marcus Walden, Josh Taylor, Darwinzon Hernandez, Austin Brice

DL:  None

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…

Outfield:

Unquestioned starters:  Andrew Benintendi (LF), Jackie Bradley Jr. (CF), Kevin Pillar (RF), J.D. Martinez (DH)

Bench:  None

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!

Boston Red Sox Roster Projection…Pt II…

…continuing on.  Skipping the bullpen for now because I don’t want to be sick to my stomach.  Actually, it works better on the word count for each column related to the roster projection, but I prefer to ignore that fact here.  The bullpen is truly wretched.  And should (WILL?!) make many fans sick this upcoming season.

Catcher:

Unquestioned starter:  Christian Vazquez

Bench:  Kevin Plawecki

DL:  None

Actual prospects that may contribute this season:  None

Additional flotsam possibly seeing major league time this season:  Jonathan Lucroy

Comments:  Speaking of players unlikely to duplicate their 2019 performance…here comes Vasky!!  10 homers in parts of 4 major league seasons prior to last, then he hits 23.  .246 career batting average, then .276 in 2019.  Etc.

Actually, I like Vazquez and certainly wanted him playing over Sandy Leon last season at all costs.  Just don’t expect any kind of repeat in 2020.

Plawecki. Leon, Lucroy…what’s the difference?  I guess if Vazquez is going to catch 85-90% of the games, there is none.

Infield:

Unquestioned starters:  Xander Bogaerts (SS), Rafael Devers (3B)

Questioned starters:  Mitch Moreland (1B), Jose Peraza (2B)

Bench:  Michael Chavis (1B/2B/3B), Tzu-Wei Lin (2B/SS/3B/OF), Jonathan Arauz (2B/SS/3B)

DL:  Dustin Pedroia (2B)

Actual prospects that may contribute this season:  Bobby Dalbec (#3, 3B/1B), C.J. Chatham (#13, SS/2B)

Additional flotsam possibly seeing major league time this season:  Marco Hernandez, Yairo Munoz

Comments:  Devers had a breakout season last year at age 22.  54 doubles, 32 dingers, 201 hits, led the MAJORS in total bases and perhaps more surprisingly, had a .311 batting average (.254 in his first two years).  Wow.  Is that an early peak, or can we expect more big things going forward?

I think we would all be happy with simply a duplicate season.  Devers has always been regarded as a great talent.  But to even expect a duplicate season may still be a stretch.

That being said, let’s also see where his head is at, seeing that the Sox brass decided to reward him for last season by renewing his contract for less than 700k.  No one asked the Sox to give him a fat long term extension.  But to lowball him like that cannot be good.  Just ask Mookie Betts how he liked it when the team did it to him.

I’d say Bogaerts had a breakout season as well.  But he seemed to be trending that way after his very good 2018.

No question though that he took another giant leap forward.  Then he actually signed a pretty team friendly long term extension himself.  Surprising, but maybe that was pretty good foresight if he wants to settle here, what with the state of the organization…and the world…these days.

Even if they come back to Earth a bit, I don’t think we will have to worry too much about X and Raffy.  Though the additional burden of trying to carry this team could pull them down a bit.  Make no mistake, these guys will be expected to be the big producers.  What about J.D. helping ease some of that burden, you ask?  More on that later.

There seems to be some feel good stories about Peraza coming out now.  I am not sure I care.  As long as he can play a little defense, I should be good with anyone at that position.  Well, except Pedroia, who still doesn’t know when it is time to retire.  My feelings on Pedey are well known.  So let’s move on…

Moreland was re-signed…and…I am actually ok with it.  I can’t believe I just wrote this either.  But for 2.5 mil and a 3 mil club option, really not a bad deal.  Especially now, with the shortened season likely.  He’s useful against right handed pitching, plays good defense, seems to be a good team/clubhouse guy and all that.

We don’t know what to expect from Chavis over a full season yet.  Chavis is probably going to spend some time at second and perhaps third base as well.  Dalbec is not likely ready this year, if ever.  We are at least a couple of years away from Triston Casas (#2 Sox prospect).  One more year of Mitch ain’t gonna kill anyone.

Lin makes the team because he is out of options and Arauz because he was a Rule V pick who needs to stay on the roster for the full season or be offered back to the club he was claimed from for half of the purchase price.  You really don’t need both, so the expanded rosters at the start of the season, plus some injuries should give the team enough time to decide on which one to keep.  Lin has been dabbling in the outfield the past year or so, so this may make him even more useful at the beginning of the season.

Hernandez has gotten some major league time and there is actually something about him I like.  No idea why.  But he was designated for assignment over the winter himself.  No team in the majors appeared to like him as much as I did, so he will be toiling in Pawtucket for the time being.  As will Munoz, a late spring signee after being dumped by the Cards.  Can’t blame the Cards for dumping him actually.  Yairo apparently felt that he wasn’t going to make the team (the first week of March he felt this) and just decided to fly back home to the Dominican Republic…without notifying anyone in the St. Louis organization.  That’s a pretty solid way for a fungible reserve to get released, I would say.

I’d say that based on the circumstances, we will not see any of #1 prospect and the supposed jewel of the Mookie trade, Jeter Downs, this season.  I am not sure we would have seen him anyway if this was a normal season.

And if you were hoping that Chad de la Guerra or Jantzen Witte were finally going to make it to the bigs, I’d say you’re bound to be disappointed as well.  Sorry for this news.

Next:  The conclusion…

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.

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