Just a bit more than a week until Opening Night, the Red Sox are trimming their roster to 25. At the moment, there are 35 players still in the mix. If we assume David Ortiz goes on the DL, make it 34 players meaning 9 more cuts.
On the bubble: Clayton Mortenson, Mike Carp, Mauro Gomez, Jose Iglesias, Ryan Lavarnway, Junichi Tazawa, Lyle Overbay, Alfredo Aceves, Ryan Sweeney, Jackie Bradley Jr., Pedro Ciriaco and Brock Holt.
If Drew goes on the DL, I think Iglesias makes the team, otherwise he is headed to Pawtucket for more seasoning, remember he is only 23. Drew was declared ready for baseball activities again and since he’d had 16 at bats already this spring, I imagine he’ll be ready for opening day. Holt and Ciriaco are interesting too as Ciriaco offers a bit more flexibility (all infield positions, save first base/catcher and all outfield positions) while Holt is a better offensive player. They could both stick.
Mortenson and Tazawa are casualties of the numbers game. Good enough to be on the team but there is no room. Aceves is such a wild man I’d be looking to deal him immediately. He is a headache is as likely to get suspended as he is to provide good innings.
With Daniel Nava learning first base on the fly I see him sticking (reports today on ESPN suggest this) meaning Carp and Overbay are cut. Lavarnway just won’t get any PT with 2 catchers on the team already in Ross and Saltalamacchia. Back to AAA for Lavarnway.
That leaves the following:
catchers: Ross and Saltalamacchia
infield: Pedroia, Middlebrooks, Drew, Holt, Ciriaco, Napoli
outfield: Gomes, Ellsbury, Victorino, Nava, ???
starters: Lester, Buchholz, Dempster, Doubront and Lackey
bullpen: Hanrahan, Bailey, Uehara, Breslow, Miller, Morales and Bard (*)
* If Bard isn’t quite ready, which is being reported, Mortenson, Tazawa or Aceves could step in.
Regardless, that leaves 24 players. The big talk is whether or not Jackie Bradley Jr. (no, not Jackie Rogers Jr) makes the team. Bradley has torn it up this spring (.444/.545/.578) and while he has never played above AA, there is strong temptation to bring him to Boston. The upside is that he is an exciting player who will probably take over for Ellsbury once his time with Boston is done, but the downside is that the jump from AA is huge. Small market teams are forced to do this kind of thing with their dearth of talent. Personally I’d assign him to AAA and let him get some reps there with the idea of promoting him if he continues to rip it up. If Bradley doesn’t break camp with the Red Sox, Ryan Sweeney will.
I’m sure I’ll be wrong on several fronts (especially Aceves) but this is my $0.02.