5 Players Who Won’t Make Boston Red Sox’ 2014 Opening Day Roster
Players Who Won't Make Boston Red Sox' 2014 Opening Day Roster
Looking at the Boston Red Sox’ roster heading into spring training, there are not a lot of vacancies on the 25 man roster. Almost everything seems ready to go for opening day on March 31, when the defending World Series champions visit the Baltimore Orioles.
The only real openings appear to be on the bench or in the bullpen with no position battles of note besides the center field opening between 2013 opening day left fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. and the newly signed, have-not-been-in-the-bigs-since-2011 Grady Sizemore. Unless Bradley puts on a spring reminiscent of David Ortiz's to start the 2009 regular season, the former South Carolina Gamecock will roam in center. Regardless, both the rookie and the three-time All-Star will make the roster, unless Sizemore starts on the disabled list.
With Ryan Dempster retiring, the Red Sox’ starting rotation basically worked itself out on its own. Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, John Lackey, Jake Peavy and Felix Doubront are the winners, but the organization still boasts a steady stable of young arms waiting in the wings.
Allen Webster and Rubby De La Rosa still are considered strong prospects who pitched for the big club a year ago and former first-round selections Anthony Ranaudo and Matt Barnes will begin the year only 45 miles away in Triple-A Pawtucket. Not to mention, the blossoming Brandon Workman, who at 24 played an integral role in last year’s World Series triumph. Workman will start 2014 back in the pen, but still considers himself a starter.
If Dempster’s “retirement” meant anything it is that there is a job or two open in the bullpen. According to my count, there are seven openings in the pen and five givens (Koji Uehara, Junichi Tazawa, Craig Breslow, Edward Mujica and Workman). That means southpaws Chris Capuano, Jose Mijares and Andrew Miller, and righties Burke Badenhop and Francisco Cordero are working for the final two spots.
The most intriguing name the Red Sox received in the August 2012 deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Allen Webster, 24, was groomed to get into the starting rotation for 2014. But the Red Sox boast one of the strongest staffs in the bigs, and only injuries to one or two arms during camp will get the ground-ball pitcher onto the opening day 25.
Is Ryan Lavarnway ever going to be a stable contributor to the Boston Red Sox? It is crazy to think that Lavarnway, now 26, was Boston's catcher during their 2011 collapse, as his bat kept him in the lineup ahead of Jason Varitek and Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Lavarnway has continued to hit since 2011, even batting .299 in 77 big-league at-bats a year ago, but now he's back in the minors, a mix between a designated hitter and catcher, after the Sox picked up AJ Pierzynski in the offseason.
Francisco Cordero, a three-time All-Star with 329 saves (13th all-time), played for two teams in 2012, the Toronto Blue Jays and Houston Astros, and blew opportunities as the closer for both teams. After taking 2013 off, the 38-year-old Cordero should begin the year in Triple-A Pawtucket, his first trip to the minors since 2002.
Jose Mijares is the odd lefty out. Andrew Miller, despite missing the end of the 2013 with ligament problems in his foot, has proved he can pitch in Boston, which not every pitcher can. Combine that with this week's $2.5 million signing of Massachusetts native Chris Capuano, who will be the long-reliever on the staff, and it spells "designated for assignment" for the 29-year-old Venezuelan.
Burke Badenhop has made himself into a respectable relief pitcher in the major leagues, tossing two straight 62.1 inning seasons with sub 3.40 eras. But with only one right-handed opening available, the organization is going to give it to Brandon Workman, who came up so clutch last October that Ben Cherington has no way he can send the former starter back to the minors.