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Sox Therapy
— Where Thinking Red Sox Fans Obsess about the Sox

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Roster Numero Uno

EDIT: Shut up, I forgot to list Xander Bogaerts because I’m stupid.  Just shut up.

With just a month until pitchers and catchers (hooray!) I figured this might be a good time to take a gander at the Sox roster as it is currently constituted.  I suspect the Sox will make a move or two to add bullpen help but what are we looking at on Opening Day in Seattle?

Infield: Mitch Moreland, Steve MVPearce, Eduardo Nunez, Brock Holt, Rafael Devers, XANDER BOGAERTS THE GREATEST SHORTSTOP EVAH
Likely DL: Dustin Pedroia
Minors: Tzu-Wei Lin, Marco Hernandez

Reading between the lines the outlook for Pedroia is somewhat pessimistic.  I think there is a very real chance he is full on finished but even if not I have a difficult time seeing him as a likely option before Memorial Day.

Beyond that miniature elephant in the room there isn’t much in play here. Lin is a pretty useful guy to have on the I-95 shuttle.  Sam Travis still has one option left to pull it together and he’ll probably get a few at bats with the big club but he has to start getting it done.  Hernandez is an issue of health, my sense is the club likes him a lot but I have to believe the missed season puts him firmly behind Lin on the depth chart.  No one would ever forget Xander who is a critical part of the team. (thanks SoSH).

Outfield: Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley Jr., Mookie Betts, JD Martinez
Minors: Gorkys Hernandez

In Bob Ryan’s book “48 Minutes” he writes of the 1985 Celtics that the only reason not to play Parish, McHale, Bird, Johnson and Ainge is injury, foul trouble, and defection to the Soviet Union.  That is roughly the case for Alex Cora.  The Sox have an outfield and with Martinez at DH and Holt able to play everywhere, this is the outfield they will have.

Hernandez is a nice pick up.  He’s not much of an offensive threat but he’s supposed to be solid defensively though the numbers don’t really scream that out.  As a right-handed bat he’s a good fit to rest JBJ and/or Benintendi and should be able to fill in for short term injuries well enough.

Catcher: Sandy Leon, Christian Vazquez, Blake Swihart

This is going to be mildly interesting I think.  The Sox have some decisions here first and foremost being can Leon hit enough to justify the glove.  He hit .095/.167/.164 after the All Star Break last year and that’s just not enough.  Big decisions usually shouldn’t be made during spring training but the Sox need to look at him and decide if he’s cooked or if he’s got something.

Vazquez had a rough year with the bat but a low BABIP gives reason to believe he might bounce back enough to be the good field/low hit guy he projects as.  Swihart looked to me like he can at least be a useful backup catcher/utilityman in the Charlie Moore/John Wathan mold.

Starters: Chris Sale, David Price, Rick Porcello, Nathan Eovaldi, Eduardo Rodriguez
DL: Steven Wright
Minors: N/A

In a baseball world ga-ga for bullpenning the Sox have a very traditional look with a strong rotation. The top four feature two Cy Young winners, a third guy who is actually the best of the bunch and a fourth solid pitcher.  The fifth starter is a high upside guy who should be noted as a potential stud.  The injury obscured just how good he had been and even as is a 107 ERA+ over his career is very solid.

Hector Velazquez and Brian Johnson who will be listed below with the relievers are competent emergency guys and Wright may be the nominal sixth.  As always if you think you have enough pitching you should look in a mirror and say “we have enough pitching” then punch yourself in the face.  Repeat until you physically can’t say it anymore but…the Sox are as well set as any team in baseball in the rotation.

Relievers: Matt Barnes, Heath Hembree, Hector Velazquez, Brian Johnson, Brandon Workman, Ryan Brasier, Bigfoot
Minors: Chandler Shepherd, Bobby Poyner, Marcus Walden(?), Colton Brewer
DL: Carson Smith

So…yeah.  It’s hard to see the Sox not picking up someone else.  They feel an arm short out there.  Tyler “Bigfoot” Thornburg is an X factor.  The guy was magnificent for the Brewers a couple year ago and if he can reclaim that status the Sox look good enough.  As the nominal closer Matt Barnes will be a bit hairy with occasional bouts of control and the odd gopher ball but the Sox won a World Series with Craig Kimbrel having a similar profile.

Conclusions:

Right now I have the Sox with a 13 player/12 pitcher set up. Potentially the Sox could move Leon or Swihart to take a 13th pitcher which I would say is likely Brewer in the current set up.

Reading between the lines more I feel like there is a non-zero chance that Kimbrel returns which is a bit frightening but if the deal is right for the Sox he’s still good.  His post-season was not great but for the full season he was very good; a WHIP of 0.995 and 42 of 47 in save opportunities.  Maybe getting a bit of a break here and there might help as he seemed to fade a bit.

Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: January 13, 2019 at 05:11 PM | 17 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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