The Red Sox no longer found the status quo to be acceptable. Boston continued to overhaul its roster Thursday by making a flurry of moves before Major League Baseball’s non-waiver trade deadline.
The Red Sox consummated four trades with four different teams involving 11 players. The Sox, who already traded away pitchers Jake Peavy and Felix Doubront in the last week, enter August on the heels of six trades that significantly altered the look and feel of the defending World Series champions.
The club that takes the field Friday night against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park will be almost unrecognizable, right down to starting pitcher Anthony Ranaudo, who will make his major league debut.
Sure, some core pieces remain in place. But Boston’s final 54 games just became a lot more interesting.
Let’s dissect a projected version of the Red Sox’s revamped roster to see where everyone fits in. It’s a tricky situation — and perhaps a fluid one until Sept. 1 — given a couple of health situations, but hopefully this will clear up any confusion.
After all, Thursday was enough to make anyone’s head spin.
Disabled list: Kelly Johnson (eligible to return Aug. 7)
It will be business as usual for first baseman Mike Napoli and second baseman Dustin Pedroia.
Shortstop Stephen Drew’s departure means Xander Bogaerts will return to his natural position. Bogaerts will be the starting shortstop while Will Middlebrooks, who has been rehabbing at Triple-A Pawtucket, will regain his starting third base job.
Brock Holt, who has played all over diamond, will continue to see time in the infield and outfield. We’ll label him an infielder for the purpose of this exercise, but he’ll pretty much do it all.
Mike Carp probably was the unhappiest person in Boston on Thursday. Carp recently asked to be traded yet stayed put amid Boston’s roster renovation. Not only that, but his role could become even less defined if Shane Victorino doesn’t miss much time. (More on Victorino in a moment.)
Kelly Johnson, acquired from the Yankees in exchange for Drew, currently is on the disabled list with a groin injury, so no immediate decision needs to be made regarding him. When healthy, Johnson can play several positions, including first base, second base, third base and left field.
The Red Sox ultimately might need to decide between Johnson and Carp, with one staying and the other being designated for assignment or included in a waiver-wire deal. The Sox can cross that bridge when they get to it.
Jackie Bradley Jr.
Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said Thursday that Shane Victorino, who left Wednesday’s game with an injury, likely will miss some time. Cherington couldn’t provide any additional details but didn’t rule out a trip to the disabled list for Victorino.
Victorino going on the DL would open up an additional roster spot, which Boston could use in any number of ways Johnson is ready to join the fray. For now, because we don’t know the extent of Victorino’s ailment, let’s just assume he occupies a roster spot.
The Red Sox could proceed with Jackie Bradley Jr. in center field, Yoenis Cespedes in right field and Allen Craig in left field. Daniel Nava, of course, will factor into the outfield plans against right-handers. Holt will do his thing, with Carp perhaps making a cameo or two.
Cespedes has never played right field in his major league career. Cherington indicated Thursday, however, that the Red Sox plan to give the deployment a test run in Victorino’s absence.
Nothing changes here, except that the Jon Lester-David Ross tandem is no more. Expect to see Christian Vazquez four days a week on average, with Ross holding down the other three, assuming the 37-year-old prevails in his ongoing fight against plantar fasciitis.
Designated hitter (1)
Starting rotation (5)
Rubby De La Rosa
Friday’s starter: Anthony Ranaudo
This is where things really heat up, as the Red Sox have a surplus of young starting pitchers looking to carve out a future role.
Anthony Ranaudo will start Friday’s game, but it’s likely he’ll be optioned back to Pawtucket following the contest. The post-deadline rotation, after Friday, likely will be comprised of Clay Buchholz, Joe Kelly, Rubby De La Rosa, Allen Webster and Brandon Workman, in some order.
Ranaudo represents the next man up.
(Ranaudo’s call-up for Friday could be facilitated in any number of ways — Shane Victorino landing on the DL, a pitcher with options temporarily being sent down, etc. — so that shouldn’t be of much concern.)
Drake Britton/Tommy Layne
The only change here involves Andrew Miller’s departure. Presumably, the Red Sox will look to fill the void with another left-handed reliever, otherwise Craig Breslow would be the unit’s only southpaw.
Drake Britton and Tommy Layne are the two likeliest candidates. Britton has more upside, but Layne has performed better at Pawtucket.