Opening Day Roster – A Final Look

With six days before Opening Day it is time for one final projection of the roster before three guys accidentally run each other over in a Tijuana Flats parking lot. I think it is pretty clear how things are going to shake out at this point;

Xander BogaertsInfield – Mike Napoli, Dustin Pedroia, Xander Bogaerts, Will Middlebrooks, Jonathan Herrera

No muss, no fuss here. Herrera has won the utility spot from Brock Holt and Stephen Drew ain’t walking through that door. The big fear right now is that there is a lack of depth with this infield. If Middlebrooks replicates 2013 the Sox have a substantial problem.

Herrera is supposed to be a strong defender but in the limited time I saw him he looked unsteady. I saw him a lot at third base which is a position he does not have a lot of experience with so that probably explains his discomfort.

For all the talk about Grady Sizemore's health Shane Victorino is no certainty to be ready every day either (RLRS Photo)

For all the talk about Grady Sizemore’s health Shane Victorino is no certainty to be ready every day either (RLRS Photo)

Outfield – Jonny Gomes, Grady Sizemore, Shane Victorino, Mike Carp, Daniel Nava

I cannot express how much I hate the apparent fact that Jackie Bradley is going to open the season in Pawtucket. Sizemore will get a test this week playing a few days in a row but expecting more than 3-4 days in a row from a guy who has not played a competitive game in over two years seems like a bad idea. Turning the outfield from a potentially game changing Gomes-Bradley-Victorino defense to a Gomes-Victorino-Nava defense is uninspiring.

The fear of course is that Bradley will sit and rot if he is carried. I see no reason to expect this to be the case. Even if Sizemore is your “starter” that leaves 2-3 days a week to let Bradley start in his place plus a couple of other games a week where he comes in as a defensive replacement.

I saw quite a bit of Sizemore while I was in Fort Myers and I have to say he looks great. His movement was fluid and in one game he made a catch where he banged into the wall and later made a diving catch. In each case he hopped up and looked 100% healthy.

Daniel Nava has gotten a couple of run outs in centerfield lately. This is a truly terrible idea in my opinion. I think I would rather see Gomes in center than Nava.

Catcher – A.J. Pierzynski, David Ross

It ain’t a young duo but it should be a good duo. Pierzynski has looked truly horrible defensively which is a bit troubling. It seemed like every time a base runner attempted to steal on him A.J. was unable to get the ball out of his glove cleanly.

In limited time both Dan Butler and Christian Vazquez looked amazingly good defensively. The Sox should be in good hands if Pierzynski or Ross goes down for any length of time.

DH – David Ortiz

Honestly I am so happy he is signed for another year. When he finally does hang up his spikes there will be so many incredible memories that he leaves behind. One of my favorites was his walk off homer against Fausto Carmona in 2006. The best part of it was the look on Mike Lowell’s face as Ortiz rounded the bases. It was a look of awe, a look that even a fellow Major League player was amazed at what he was seeing.

"I'm really a lovely person!" (Boston Globe Photo).

“I’m really a lovely person!” (Boston Globe Photo).

Starters – Jon Lester, John Lackey, Jake Peavy, Clay Buchholz, Felix Doubront

The last couple of starts from Doubront have been more than a little troubling. It would not surprise me one bit if the Opening Day roster found Doobs on the disabled list. I have not read anything about an injury but his performances have been so bad it would not be a surprise.

I got a good look at Peavy last week and I thought he looked especially sharp. If you asked me to pick one player on this roster likely to come up with a surprisingly positive performance I would probably pick Peavy.

Relievers – Koji Uehara, Junichi Tazawa, Burke Badenhop, Edward Mujica, Brandon Workman, Chris Capuano, Andrew Miller

Here is where I am a bit perplexed. The little I have seen of Miller he is uninspiring (though I think he will be good) and Workman can be stashed at Pawtucket. I think keeping Bradley around has more usefulness than the 12th pitcher.  If the Sox run into a situation where they need that extra pitcher it is easy enough to call a guy like Workman up from Pawtucket on short notice.  My feeling is that on a game to game basis having the extra outfielder is more valuable.

It looks like the Sox disagree with me though so twelve pitchers it is.

11 thoughts on “Opening Day Roster – A Final Look

  1. chris_p

    +1 on jbj. to me, nava is just a bad fit at this point. i think the best starting lineup has sizemore in left and jbj in center. gomes, and to a lesser extent carp, have plenty of opportunities to get in the game with either jbj or sizemore taking days off. but it’s just totally insane to be playing 2 of carp/nava/gomes in the outfield together. we saw it last year, and it cost the team wins.

  2. Karlmagnus

    I think they need to lose either Nava or Gomes; my preference would be for the latter. I think Carp has other uses at 1B and DH. Now he’s got a big contract, I don’t expect Ortiz to remain productive and healthy, and Carp’s a good option there. He really shouldn’t be seen as an alternative to JBJ, a quite different player.

  3. Dan

    @chris_p:

    I agree with this, I think the team is better with Sizemore in LF and JBJ in CF than Nava in LF and Sizemore in CF, but I don’t see Nava going anywhere.

  4. Nasty Nate

    @Karlmagnus:

    When can we expect your prediction that payroll slashing is imminent because of John Henry money woes? Or have you lost your religion after all these years?

  5. MCoA

    I’m not as down on optioning Bradley as y’all. I think there are still a good 80-100 games for him in the majors, and optioning him now is the best way to keep all the talent we need for the long season.

    If he ends up buried in AAA, that’s bad. But I am willing to wait until that happens to criticize it.

  6. Jose Post author

    It’s not that I’m worried about him getting the playing time but for me there are two pieces to it;

    1. I hope this doesn’t become a scenario where he’s disappointed and goes down and hits .195 for April. Long term I have no doubt he’ll be fine either way but that’s a short term problem for the Sox if it hurts him this year.

    2. As I noted in the piece I think having Bradley on the roster rather than say Workman is more valuable. You can still get Workman/Britton/etc…to Boston as needed but game to game having Bradley around is going to be useful.

  7. Jose Post author

    Also I’ll add that if he’s “buried in AAA” that’s probably a good thing. It means Sizemore and Victorino are both healthy and effective. It’s kind of the flip side of last year’s arguments that Bradley might stay on the big league roster all year.

  8. chris_p

    I’m not as down on optioning Bradley as y’all. I think there are still a good 80-100 games for him in the majors, and optioning him now is the best way to keep all the talent we need for the long season.

    my concern is that the best way of keeping victorino and sizemore healthy is to have a bradley on the major league roster in order to give sizemore starts in left. also, i think their best lineup against right-handed pitchers, at least on the road, has an outfield of sizemore/bradley/victorino. but, like you say, there will be plenty of starts to go around. if what i say is true, bradley will be up by years end. i just hope that sizemore will be healthy by then.

  9. Wounded Knee

    @MCoA:

    Given a the idea of a healthy (and productive) Sizemore, Bradley really should be optioned, IMO. It’s probably still best for him to get PA every day and hone his craft in CF. Playing 2-3 games a week at the MLB level would make it tough for a young guy to really find himself.

  10. chris_p

    Given a the idea of a healthy (and productive) Sizemore, Bradley really should be optioned, IMO.

    absent roster crunch issues, i disagree with this. i think that nava is getting overrated, as he gives so many runs back on the bases and in the field. if bradley hits as projected and is as good a defender as folks thinks, then the best lineup, especially on the road and doubly especially at yankee stadium, has sizemore in left and bradley in center. you can also find plenty of playing time for 2 of gomes/nava/carp in left based on offense/defense platoons, pinch hitting, etc.

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