Red Sox Roster Projection: Grady Sizemore Headlines Boston’s Tough Decisions

Grady SizemoreFORT MYERS, Fla. — The Boston Red Sox’s spring training game schedule starts Thursday, which means this is as good a time as any to project the club’s Opening Day roster.

Many of the same faces are returning for the Red Sox in 2014, which bodes well for Boston given last season’s success. There are some interesting storylines to watch with spring training games starting up, though, and the next few weeks could go a long way toward determining who breaks camp with the big league club.

Let’s look into the crystal ball and project the Red Sox’s Opening Day roster. Apologies in advance to Stephen Drew, who remains without a home for the time being.

Infielders (6)
Mike Napoli
Dustin Pedroia
Xander Bogaerts
Will Middlebrooks
Mike Carp
Jonathan Herrera

The only real question is centered on Boston’s utility spot. Jonathan Herrera and Brock Holt are options for the job, with manager John Farrell saying Thursday that the ability to play shortstop is the most important aspect of the gig.

Herrera gets the slight nod for now, as the Red Sox made it a priority to acquire him over the offseason. Holt could alter the discussion with strong play over the next month.

Outfielders (5)
Shane Victorino
Jonny Gomes
Daniel Nava
Jackie Bradley Jr.
Grady Sizemore

Jackie Bradley Jr. and Grady Sizemore are vying for the center field job, although Bradley seems like the front-runner given the organization’s view of him and the strides he made at the tail end of last season.

Sizemore has been one of the biggest surprises of Red Sox spring training thus far, and the 31-year-old even admitted this week that he’s ahead of where he expected to be at this point in camp. Sizemore should earn a roster spot with continued progress.

Catchers (2)
A.J. Pierzynski
David Ross

A.J. Pierzynski and David Ross will be the two backstops on Boston’s Opening Day roster barring something unforeseen.

It’ll be interesting to see how the workload gets divvied up between the two catchers. Farrell already indicated there will not be any specific pitcher/catcher tandems and that several factors will play into who catches on a given day.

Designated hitter (1)
David Ortiz

This guy’s pretty good. Maybe you’ve heard of him.

Rotation (5)
Jon Lester
Clay Buchholz
John Lackey
Felix Doubront
Jake Peavy

Ryan Dempster’s decision not to pitch in 2014 really clarified this picture.

The Red Sox signed Chris Capuano with the intention of him being the team’s depth starter. The Red Sox will have some difficult bullpen decisions to make, though, and the left-hander could be a roster casualty if Boston opts to carry both Jackie Bradley Jr. and Grady Sizemore in the outfield.

Bullpen (6)
Koji Uehara
Edward Mujica
Junichi Tazawa
Brandon Workman
Andrew Miller
Craig Breslow

The Red Sox’s bullpen situation is crowded, and the above six seem like locks. Chris Capuano and Burke Badenhop are two veterans currently on the bubble, and their futures largely depend on how many pitchers Boston decides to carry.

Have a question for Ricky Doyle? Send it to him via Twitter at @TheRickyDoyle or send it here.

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