Red Sox Roster Breakdown: Making Sense Of Boston’s Post-Deadline Squad

Will MiddlebrooksBOSTON — The Red Sox’s clubhouse felt like a foreign land before Friday’s game against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park. Lockers were moved, new faces were scattered and a different feel filled the air.

The Red Sox made four trades Thursday before Major League Baseball’s 4 p.m. ET non-waiver trade deadline. Boston shipped away major leaguers and landed major leaguers, signifying that the Red Sox — true to their word — intend to contend in 2015. There’s no rebuilding.

Boston’s trade deadline activity was supplemented by additional roster moves Friday. Let’s look at the post-trade deadline 25-man roster, noting that the remainder of this season represents a fluid situation.

Infielders (5)
Mike Napoli
Dustin Pedroia
Xander Bogaerts
Will Middlebrooks
Brock Holt

DL: Kelly Johnson

Will Middlebrooks officially is back. The 25-year-old, who landed on the disabled list with a fractured right index finger, hasn’t appeared in a major league game since May 16.

Middlebrooks will become the Red Sox’s starting third baseman upon his return. Xander Bogaerts shifts back to his natural shortstop position in the wake of Stephen Drew being traded to the Yankees.

“I think we’re all looking forward to it,” Red Sox manager John Farrell Friday said of Middlebrooks’ return. “He’s been able to get regular at-bats (at Pawtucket) to get his timing down. Hopefully some of the injury bug that has followed him a little bit is behind him, and really (it’s) an opportunity to take advantage of his skills. The opportunity is in front of him right now.”

Mike Napoli and Dustin Pedroia would make The Rock proud. They know their roles.

The somewhat surprising move — though it seemed inevitable — involved Mike Carp. Carp, who requested a trade leading up to the deadline, was designated for assignment before Friday’s game. The 28-year-old was unhappy with his diminished role, and the Red Sox — a team with whom he no longer fit roster-wise — thus afforded him the opportunity to see what else is out there.

Kelly Johnson, who was placed on the DL while with the Yankees, will remain shelved for now. He’s eligible to come off the DL on Aug. 7, at which point the Red Sox will need to make a decision.

Outfielders (5)
Yoenis Cespedes
Jackie Bradley Jr.
Allen Craig
Daniel Nava
Mookie Betts

DL: Shane Victorino

Shane Victorino was placed on the disabled list Friday. Victorino still is dealing with lower back tightness, according to John Farrell. The outfielder is scheduled to undergo an MRI.

“I think that until we get the information back, it’s probably too early to tell. But the one thing that we do have right now is that we do have some time on our side,” Farrell said regarding any potential procedure for Victorino, who has been sidelined for most of this season. “Whatever is recommended for Vic to get back to full strength, and if we can use the remaining months in this calendar year to our advantage, we’ll see if that makes sense.”

Boston’s normal outfield alignment will feature Yoenis Cespedes in right field and Allen Craig in left field.

Cespedes played some right field in Cuba, but he has played strictly left field and center field in the majors. Cespedes, who has 12 outfield assists this season, said Friday he prides himself on being a solid defender wherever he’s asked to play and has no worries about playing right field, even at spacious Fenway Park.

Jackie Bradley Jr. will continue to patrol center field. Brock Holt also will see time in center in addition to third base and shortstop.

It’ll be interesting to see how much playing time Daniel Nava receives moving forward. Nava has played well since his most recent call-up at the beginning of June, and Farrell expects there to be opportunities, particularly against right-handers.

The surprise addition to this group is Mookie Betts, who we’ll label an outfielder for all intents and purposes. Mike Carp was designated for assignment and Cespedes didn’t arrive to the ballpark until shortly before game time Friday, so calling up Betts made sense, although it could be a brief stay in the majors for the 21-year-old.

Designated hitter (1)
David Ortiz

Keep doing you, Papi.

Catchers (2)
Christian Vazquez
David Ross

This tandem remains unchanged. Christian Vazquez has a lot of familiarity with the young starting pitchers coming up through the organization, so that certainly could be advantageous to Boston.

Starting rotation (5)
Clay Buchholz
Rubby De La Rosa
Allen Webster
Brandon Workman
Anthony Ranaudo

En route: Joe Kelly

Joe Kelly is expected to arrive Saturday. He’ll immediately join the Red Sox’s rotation, meaning someone, likely Anthony Ranaudo, will be sent back to Pawtucket following Friday’s game.

It’s rare you see a team trade four-fifths of its rotation over the course of a season, yet that’s exactly the case for the Red Sox, who dealt Jon Lester, John Lackey, Jake Peavy and Felix Doubront amid their deadline activity.

“There’s a lot of leadership, a lot of ability and success that has left in (Lester and Lackey),” Farrell said. “But at the same time, we feel like there’s a support and structure in place that will maximize the abilities of young guys with very good stuff. Will we be challenge at times? We anticipate that. But we’re still in the process of sorting some things out, too.”

Bullpen (7)
Koji Uehara
Junichi Tazawa
Edward Mujica
Craig Breslow
Burke Badenhop
Tommy Layne
Alex Wilson

Most of the bullpen remains intact. Left-hander Tommy Layne essentially fills the hole created when the Red Sox traded fellow southpaw Andrew Miller to the Baltimore Orioles.

Alex Wilson was called up Friday. He’s on the bubble — along with Mookie Betts — within the fluid situation.

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