Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Red Sox have some tough roster decisions coming up

Tony Gutierrez / Associated Press

Opening Day is on Sunday, April 3. It's one of my favorite days of the year, and I plan on watching baseball all day long. Starting pitchers are being announced throughout the league, and roster moves are being made.

The Red Sox had a pretty easy decision when announcing the Opening Day starter in David Price, which we knew since the day he was signed.

Third base, left field, the rest of the starting rotation, and two bullpen spots are all, more or less, up for grabs. David Murphey was already released last night, which is a move I like. There's already enough people to fill the outfield.

The question is who will be the starter in left field. Rusney Castillo doesn't look ready to be a big league starter yet to me, and he seems to be injured often, so I'm assuming it will be between Brock Holt and Chris Young. I like Holt, since we know what he can do.

The third base situation has gotten very interesting this last week as well. I raved so much about Travis Shaw, but he's fizzled out. He's hit-less in his last 14 plate appearances. I haven't seen or heard too much about how Sandoval is doing, other than his defense has been pretty terrible, but I'm assuming he'll get another shot because of his contract.

Travis Shaw will make the Opening Day roster anyway since he can play either corner infield position anyway.

Tony Gutierrez / Associated Press

Moving on to the starting rotation. We know David Price is the ace. Clay Buchholz is the guy right behind him. The rest of the rotation is less clear-cut.

Rick Porcello has a 12.00 ERA this Spring and allowed three big home runs in his appearance Monday. He's supposed to be the third starter, but we'll see.

Tony Gutierrez / Associated Press

Joe Kelly actually looked very good until Tuesday, when he allowed a few home runs as well. I have some confidence in him coming off a strong finish to the 2015 season. I see him being the three starter and Porcello the four.

The fifth starter spot is the big question. Eduardo Rodriguez is beginning the season on the DL, so Steven Wright or Roenis Elias will take his place in the meantime. Because Wright is out of options, I'm assuming he'll begin the season as the fifth starter. He also had a very good start last week that probably solidified my assumption.

In the bullpen, Carson Smith will begin the season on the DL. Tazawa, Koji and Kimbrell will get the seventh, eighth and ninth innings respectively.

Brandon Workman was supposed to occupy a spot as well, but he is recovering from Tommy John. That leaves four bullpen spots to fill. Tommy Layne has looked very good lately, so he'll likely grab a spot. Robbie Ross and Matt Barnes were solid last season, so they'll probably take two more spots.

That leaves just one spot left. The discussion has been between Noe Ramirez or Roenis Elias, but I see it going to Ramirez. He's a true reliever, while Elias will likely be a big league starter some day. Elias is better suited in the minors starting games so he'll be ready for the inevitable call-up to make some big league starts this season.

Despite all the questions, there are some positives as well. David Price seems to be in mid-season form. Xander Bogaerts is looking good at top of the order, even showing off a bit of power in his last game. Jackie Bradley Jr., one of my favorite players, is likely moving up in the lineup as well.

Hanley Ramirez is also excelling at this season's iteration of a position change.