The Boston Red Sox are one week away from Opening Day, and the club’s major league roster is beginning to take shape.
The Red Sox enter Monday’s action with 35 players in big league camp, including 30 players on the 40-man roster and five non-roster invitees. It won’t be long before the Red Sox will be forced to cut that number by 10 to get down to a 25-man Opening Day squad.
There aren’t many questions left to be answered. The biggest storylines surround center field and the bullpen, with the rest of the roster pretty much in place.
Let’s take a whack at predicting the Red Sox’s 2014 Opening Day roster. (Apologies again to Stephen Drew, who remains without a home.)
Stephen Drew still is a free agent, but don’t count on him returning anytime soon. The Red Sox appear comfortable starting the season with Xander Bogaerts at shortstop and Will Middlebrooks at third base.
Jonathan Herrera beat out Brock Holt for the utility spot. Herrera still is getting his feet under him at third base, but his experience up the middle, particularly at shortstop, ultimately landed him the job. Being a switch-hitter doesn’t hurt, either.
Grady Sizemore, who has had a tremendous spring, is expected to play in three straight games — five out of six — this week. How he responds will determine who gets the nod in center field.
If Sizemore is healthy when camp ends, expect him to be the center fielder. Farrell said last week that Sizemore projects as an everyday player when durability no longer is a question, although there’s still a chance the Red Sox could send the 31-year-old on a rehab stint before adding him to the mix.
Perhaps the bigger question is if the Red Sox will carry Jackie Bradley Jr. even if Sizemore breaks camp with the club. Right now, it seems unlikely.
Christian Vazquez, Dan Butler and Blake Swihart had good camps, and Ryan Lavarnway, while working on playing first base, also remains in the catching mix. All are headed for the minors, but Boston can feel great about its organizational catching depth.
Designated hitter (1)
Now, this guy can really get comfortable. He has his new contract.
This is how everything sets up right now. No official announcement has been made, but don’t expect a deviation from the plan unless an injury pops up.
The big question here is whether Craig Breslow, who has been brought along slowly, will be ready for Opening Day. If he isn’t, which seems likely, Brandon Workman appears to be the front-runner to land the open spot.
Francisco Cordero and Drake Britton are two other options to keep an eye on. While Workman might be the best replacement option, it should be noted that he’s been brought along as a starter all spring. The Red Sox might decide to just keep him on that track at Pawtucket, especially if Breslow’s arrival is delayed by only a few days.
Photo via Twitter/@DannyLGarrison