What does 2023 look like?

JM3

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@Big Papi's Mango Salsa and @JM3 I have to say that while I often find myself disagreeing with you, I have a ton of respect for the work and dedication the two of you have displayed in this thread.
+1 on this, for sure. Would add @chawson to that mix too. Thought out and logical arguments all around.
Disagree with me??????? Is this about Pivetta? lol

Thx for the kind words. It's posters like @chawson who got me into posting here to begin with.
 

SouthernBoSox

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Alfaro with a “upward mobility clause”, looks like a decision on him will need to be made before Opening Day (seems unlikely they’d be able to stash him in Worcester). Alfaro making the team and Wong in AAA is possible- but will require a 40 man move.

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=pfbid02bgygwH6PyGDezPvsGPSnib3SdJe8fUxBX9FagK32yNLHAmGpWiFHkGbLGwNRuKXhl&id=176045935802347&mibextid=uc01c0
Wong possibly has a significant hamstring injury as well so the 40 man might be a non issue.
 

Niastri

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Alfaro with a “upward mobility clause”, looks like a decision on him will need to be made before Opening Day (seems unlikely they’d be able to stash him in Worcester). Alfaro making the team and Wong in AAA is possible- but will require a 40 man move.

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=pfbid02bgygwH6PyGDezPvsGPSnib3SdJe8fUxBX9FagK32yNLHAmGpWiFHkGbLGwNRuKXhl&id=176045935802347&mibextid=uc01c0
I think this may be part of the plan... They wanted to make sure Alfaro was healthy and effective before pairing him with McGuire at catcher. Wong would be first man up in event of injury or ineffectiveness.
 

chawson

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Yes, @chawson has also put in a good amount of work.
Disagree with me??????? Is this about Pivetta? lol

Thx for the kind words. It's posters like @chawson who got me into posting here to begin with.
Thanks, back at you guys and @Big Papi's Mango Salsa for your own thoughtful and well researched posts.

It's nice that the post-Xander signing regional inflammation has ebbed a bit and we can think constructively rather than reactively. I'm curious to see what this team really is and can be.

View: https://twitter.com/ianmbrowne/status/1631345805410934785?s=46&t=DBy3zB6zdW9jqZwGX1hyzA


Ian Browne of mlb.com speculating that the Sox open with a rotation of Sale, Kluber, Paxton, Houck and Pivetta, and Bello and Whitlock “shouldn't be far behind.”

Not exactly sure how that resolves but interested to see how it plays out.
 

chawson

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The subtext for all this extremely diligent reporting about Wong's hamstring strain is that a lot of people want to see Jorge Alfaro on the team.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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I wonder if Greg Allen has any sort of clause like that? There was no mention of one when he signed, but that doesn't necessarily mean anything.
https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2023/01/red-sox-greg-allen-agree-to-minor-league-contract.html
If he doesn't, I think the default standard minor league deal for MLB veterans includes one or two opt-out opportunities during the season. Like May 1 and July 1 or something like that. So if there's not a decision to be made before opening day, there will be decisions to be made later on.
 

Big Papi's Mango Salsa

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Thanks for the kind words @YTF and others. Since it doesn't sound like we're truly annoying anyone having a discussion, I'm happy to keep having it. I think it's interesting and genuinely we're all on here because we care about the Red Sox and want them to do well (or are good baseball fans, to the credit of someone like @jon abbey), we just have different ideas of what will ultimately be successful for our favorite team.

To the point @JM3, in my scenario there would also be no Duvall. I'd been using the FanGraphs salary because - while I tend to like Spotrac, their overall projection on salary seems way too low. FG has us at about $218m right now, so adding in the $18m you mentioned would put us over the cap at $236m however removing Duvall puts us back at $229m, so about $4m under. I'd have gone with the idea of a Yoshida, Hernandez, Verdugo OF with Duran as the 4th OF, in my scenario.

That said, I am not a subscriber to the Athetic, and didn't know that about Segura's clubhouse reputation, in which case I'd agree on him NOT being a guy to bring in, and I'll just assume that whatever is linked in that article is bad enough that you wouldn't want him around Casas, Bello and anyone else whom might be up in 2023 or 2024. But make that Andrus and the same thing applies, generally speaking, in that I'd rather have Abreu, Bassitt (and Andrus) for the next 3 seasons as opposed to 1 season of Turner, Kluber and Duvall with multiple seasons of Martin, Rodriguez, and any of the non-closer RPs we're paying real money for.

The interesting thing - which I think we can agree on - is that this season is going to be a fun litmus test between Steamer projections and ZiPS at Fangraphs. If ZiPS is closer to the mark, you're going to be right about the season and if it's Steamer, I think I will be. Of the players we've been discussing, fWAR projections of Steamer first then ZiPS (it will be really interesting to see how the projections stack up with what these guys actually provide:

Duvall: .4 and 2.3 (Duran is .1 and 1.9, so no, I wouldn't have paid $7m for what Steamer projects as a .3/.4 difference in WAR)
Turner: 1.2 and 3.2
Kluber: 1.7 and 1.6
Refsnyder: .3 and 1.3
Abreu: 2.3 and 2.8
Bassitt: 2.2 and 2.5
*Segura: 2.8 and 2.4* (listed just because that is whom I was thinking and, as mentioned, I wasn't aware of the clubhouse reputation)
Andrus: 1.9 and 1.8



All in, Steamer projects what we have as a combined 3.6WAR; ZiPS at 8.4. Conversely, the guys I mentioned instead, Steamer projects it as 7.3 (7.4 if you add in Duran instead as a 4th OF) with Segura but 6.4 with Andrus; ZiPS at 7.7 (7.1).

FWIW, the relievers are projected at about 1.2 for Steamer (less for ZiPS), and I do believe that Bloom could replicate that using the Tampa approach by stashing the bullpen with a ton of guys already in Pawtucket and guys on minor league deals, the way Tampa is able to. Maybe others don't give him that degree of credit - and I'd get it, but based on his finding guys like Schreiber, Whitlock and even Robles mid 2021 season version for basically nothing, I choose to give him that credit.
 

JM3

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Aren't you short a starting middle infielder if Hernandez is in CF & you've moved Arroyo to the bench, regardless of whether you're bringing Segura or Andrus?

I mostly just use Spotrac for individual contracts & stuff later in the year. According to the Sox Payroll guy, we only have a bit over $7m:

View: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1zPx_cKCQ7TQjab2kPM4zIhEFSDxrTpLLIEZr2xh5E8g/edit#gid=350712967


I think it's a bit pessimistic, but who knows? Adding an extra $11m (while still not having a starting middle infielder), would at least put us up against the #, though & rob us of any flexibility.

Every projection model has been tested & retrofitted in some way or another. I don't really ascribe to any of them more than any other one (except generally I find Marcel a bit basic as it doesn't include a lot of the underlying things that I find more predictive).

I just don't see guys like Abreu & Bassitt as difference makers for this year's team, & I find them problematic for '25. Using that 3-year ZIPS thing, they have Bassitt at 2.5, 1.8 & 1.3 fWAR over the next 3 years & Abreu at 2.8, 1.3 & 0.7. What you are really buying with these long term deals is the earlier years, especially with older players. The 1st year can be somewhat of a bargain on these deals. For example Bassitt + Abreu this year it says 5.3 fWAR for $40.5m which isn't a bad rate. The problem is the 3rd year where it's predicting 2 fWAR for $40.5m.

So it makes sense to add those sort of players in the year you are ready to make that push so you aren't paying for the good years to try to sneak into the playoffs & then getting the bad years in your window. What you do is you sign the '25 equivalent of Abreu & Bassitt in 2 years because that's when it's time to make that push, but I think it would be fairly shortsighted to do so now - especially if it's debatable that it would even improve this year's team.

Bloom can find diamonds in the rough - you just can't cobble together an entire staff that way. This is why the Red Sox had 10 pitchers with negative fWAR last season, & the Rays, who are being held as the paragon for this, had 15. The more good pitchers you have, the less bad innings you will have to suffer through. & as pointed out in the detailed breakdown, many of those relief options were brought in by the Rays prior to Bloom even having the Red Sox job, & many others by trading prospects who had been acquired by the Rays prior to Bloom taking the job.

7 of the 19 Rays players who are going to make at least $1m this year, are relief pitchers, so it's not like they don't put some priority on the position (for the Red Sox it's 5 of 19). & you say you're fine with the closer, so removing Jansen (& Fairbanks from the Rays), the Red Sox have 4 relief pitchers making over the minimum earning a total of $13.8m & the 6 Rays guys make $8.7m - considering the difference in payroll between the 2 teams, that seems like a pretty comparable level of financial commitment to the pen.

& yeah, I think Martin is going to drastically outperform the models because I think he made a fundamental change that will improve his stats going forward that the models won't necessarily capture. Same with Joely. Both were low key great in the last half of the season last year, after both changed their pitch deployment & leaned into throwing their better pitches more.
 

Big Papi's Mango Salsa

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Just for what it’s worth, I was doing this as of when those guys were signed, and as such the middle infield was Story and ”not Story.”

I would have also non-tendered Taylor (meaning no Mondessi) so you’re talking about call it and additional $9.35m + the $7.4m for $16.75m. No chance I’m signing Yu Chang since we already have Valdez ($17.75m). In the situation we find ourselves in (Story injured), I‘d have not signed Tapia ($19.75, based on the Sox payroll mentioned above factoring him in) nor Allen ($21.15m).

That allows for the different signings mentioned ($18m) and as we are where we are with the middle IF, I assume that leaves us more than plenty of money to sign Iglesias (as he presently has no job).

For the record, I like the Faria signing, and that’s why I’m leaving that one in there. It’s exactly how I want a $luxury tax threshold budget bullpen to be built in the non-closer roles. I have no idea on if Faria will be good, terrible, or not even leave Worcester.

Anyway, what we have is what we have, and we’ll see; I think a different way of building - while operating in the confines of reality that we weren’t signing Bogaerts, Correa, Swanson, Rodon, Turner type deals - would have been better for 2023, 2024 and breaking in the kids.


I cannot in anyway stress enough that I greatly respect and understand the conclusions you’ve made from the data you’ve found, I just happen to disagree. Though I truly hope you’re right and I’m wrong - that would be much better for the Red Sox.

*Thanks for posting that payroll breakdown, it’s excellent.
 
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JM3

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Just for what it’s worth, I was doing this as of when those guys were signed, and as such the middle infield was Story and ”not Story.”

I would have also non-tendered Taylor (meaning no Mondessi) so you’re talking about call it and additional $9.35m + the $7.4m for $16.75m. No chance I’m signing Yu Chang since we already have Valdez ($17.75m). In the situation we find ourselves in (Story injured), I‘d have not signed Tapia ($19.75, based on the Sox payroll mentioned above factoring him in) nor Allen ($21.15m).

That allows for the different signings mentioned ($18m) and as we are where we are with the middle IF, I assume that leaves us more than plenty of money to sign Iglesias (as he presently has no job).

For the record, I like the Faria signing, and that’s why I’m leaving that one in there. It’s exactly how I want a $luxury tax threshold budget bullpen to be built in the non-closer roles. I have no idea on if Faria will be good, terrible, or not even leave Worcester.

Anyway, what we have is what we have, and we’ll see; I think a different way of building - while operating in the confines of reality that we weren’t signing Bogaerts, Correa, Swanson, Senga, Turner type deals - would have been better for 2023, 2024 and breaking in the kids.


I cannot in anyway stress enough that I greatly respect and understand the conclusions you’ve made from the data you’ve found, I just happen to disagree. Though I truly hope you’re right and I’m wrong - that would be much better for the Red Sox.

*Thanks for posting that payroll breakdown, it’s excellent.
I don't even think we have wildly disparate notions of the Red Sox this season? I have wagered that they will win more than 77.5 games this season & I think their median outcome is probably around 84 wins. I believe you think their median outcome is around 82 wins. I think our primary disagreement is on roster construction & I enjoy the conversation. & the reality is, they might be in on that top tier of free agent in '25...but not if they're paying $40m for 2 fWAR from Bassitt & Abreu when they could be aiming to pay $50m for 6.5 fWAR of Soto.

I think you're over-counting some of these salary things as the minimum hold for a 40-man guy is over $500k, so no matter who they added to the 40 would cost at least that minimum. Chang only costs a couple hundred k extra over that, & the Major League minimum is a prorated $720k, so only $130k over what they would pay Valdez if they called him up.

People like Tapia/Allen/Faria only make that money if they make the majors & aren't currently making that $ & aren't on the 40-man. Those are just prorated "if added" #s & I would hope that cap guy wouldn't be including them in his math at the moment. They just serve a depth role. I do enjoy that Faria's agent negotiated to make a prorated $735k instead of the prorated $720k if he makes it, though.

Chang v. Iglesias is whatever. I don't really want either player starting for me & Chang plays more positions, has more upside, is cheaper, & is easier to jettison if Story/Mondesi get back.
 

The Gray Eagle

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Abraham (bleah) in the Glob projects the Opening Day roster:
https://www.bostonglobe.com/2023/03/04/sports/injuries-add-clarity-second-projection-red-sox-opening-day-roster/

Rotation: Sale, Kluber, Pivetta, Houck, Crawford.
With him projecting Paxton, Whitlock, and Bello on IL to start, that leaves a couple bullpen spots. He thinks Zach Kelly and Wyatt Mills would get those spots.

With Mondesi looking likely to also start on the DL, he guesses that Yu Chang will get an infield spot over Goodrum. With no mention of Dalbec, he must be projecting him to start in AAA.

He's got Tapia making the team as the last OF (ahead of Duran and Greg Allen) and Wong either on the IL or AAA with Alfaro making the team.

It's just one sportswriter's projections, but presumably he does talk to the coaches and maybe has some insight?

Seems like the roster will be changing a lot soon after Opening Day, with plenty of players starting on the IL who should hopefully be back soon. None of the injuries to Paxton, Whitlock, Bello, Mondesi, and Wong are supposed to keep them out of action very long. Wong could play in Worcester if healthy, and so could Bello (I would expect him to make a couple starts there to get fully stretched out before coming up) but the 26-man roster will hopefully need several new openings at some point in April.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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I couldn’t access the article but Tapia and Alfaro to the roster would require two 40-man moves. Assuming they’d be moving Dalbec and perhaps Ort?
 

Eddie Bressoud

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I don't think Dalbec or Ort will be the first two off the 40 man. Alfaro's spot probably is most impacted by Wong status. If Wong's hammy is bad he could go to 60 day il. I think Refsnyder could be the odd man out Tapia makes the team out of spring training.
 

geoflin

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I don't think Dalbec or Ort will be the first two off the 40 man. Alfaro's spot probably is most impacted by Wong status. If Wong's hammy is bad he could go to 60 day il. I think Refsnyder could be the odd man out Tapia makes the team out of spring training.
The Red Sox are short on right handed hitting, even more so if Turner is out for a while, so I doubt Refsnyder will be off the the 26 man roster let alone the 40 man roster.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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The Red Sox are short on right handed hitting, even more so if Turner is out for a while, so I doubt Refsnyder will be off the the 26 man roster let alone the 40 man roster.
Yeah, even with everyone healthy, Tapia's chance to make the Opening Day roster has always been beating out Dalbec and Duran for the last bench spot. The presumed locks for the bench at the start of camp were Refsnyder, Wong, and Chang (or Mondesi if he's ready). Injuries obviously increase his chances but I don't think they bump him ahead of those presumed locks.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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Yeah, even with everyone healthy, Tapia's chance to make the Opening Day roster has always been beating out Dalbec and Duran for the last bench spot. The presumed locks for the bench at the start of camp were Refsnyder, Wong, and Chang (or Mondesi if he's ready). Injuries obviously increase his chances but I don't think they bump him ahead of those presumed locks.
Wong a lock seems like a stretch. Alfaro seems a good chance of taking that spot, IMO.
 

nvalvo

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How do we feel about the Wong/Alfaro position battle?

Alfaro is certainly fun, and would fill the tools-monster-with-insane-upside void left by Franchy Cordero. Unfortunately, he also looks like he would fill the 35+% strikeout rate void left by Cordero, even if a career .700 OPS is pretty good for a catcher these days; that would have put you in the top 12 or 15 at the position last season.

Still, gGiving up defense at such a key position for an uncertain, small offensive gain is questionable to me.

Connor Wong's career OPS (in only 70 PA) is .650, and his minor league OPS is .832. Sure, Alfaro has insane high-end EVs, but Wong hit a 480-foot HR last season. There's pop in his bat, too.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Wong a lock seems like a stretch. Alfaro seems a good chance of taking that spot, IMO.
Note I was talking about the start of camp before anyone was injured. Wong was very much the favorite based on the simple fact that he's on the 40-man and Alfaro was not. Not an insurmountable hurdle, of course, but stashing Alfaro in Worcester and off the 40-man for as long as they can would be the Theo-esque "maximizing assets" move (ditto having Tapia and Goodrum in Worcester). Now with mounting injuries (Wong and Turner specifically), the roster shake-out is a totally different story.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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Alfaro has the opt out / mobility clause before opening day, though, makes it difficult to stash him. They’ve only got two catchers on the 40 after carrying 4 last year. I suspect the ultimate move is to DFA a pitcher (or trade Dalbec or Duran), add Alfaro, and keep Wong in AAA, but guess we shall see.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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Alfaro has the opt out / mobility clause before opening day, though, makes it difficult to stash him. They’ve only got two catchers on the 40 after carrying 4 last year. I suspect the ultimate move is to DFA a pitcher (or trade Dalbec or Duran), add Alfaro, and keep Wong in AAA, but guess we shall see.
With Turner likely out a few days though, it makes Dalbec likelier to be on the 26 as backup corner IF and DH. In a pinch he could be 2b or SS if an injury occurs in game. He’s already on the 40 and can be optioned back.
Ort hasn’t shown anything except he’s likely to be passed on by other teams and Bloom can retain his binky.
Duran has shown enough to hold onto for at least a (relatively) valuation trade. He has an outside shot at a roster spot too
 

joe dokes

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This was toward the end of Abraham's roundup of Sale's game:
Sale is scheduled for three innings Saturday against the Twins. The calendar from there has him lined up for Game 2 of the regular season, against the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park.
If he's healthy, why wouldn't Sale start OD? Or is it simply a matter of uncertainty (understandable), so better to have him lined up for a day after an offday, just in case a setback leaves them scrambling?
 

joe dokes

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Or that Kluber, with his multiple CY awards, is being granted that honor.
I figure it's Kluber if not Sale. I dont expect it to be an issue. In fact, given his public statments so far, I expect Sale to say he doesn't really deserve it.

It could just be that it is Pete Abe reporting.
Certainly havent ruled that out!
 
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nvalvo

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As for the 26-man roster, here's what I think I would do (i.e. as of now) after this recent spate of injuries.

Turner to the 15-day IL. Don't rush him back for opening day. Let his face heal up properly, and then get him back swinging.
Wilyer Abreu to the 60-day IL.
Wong optioned.
Alfaro to the 40-man and the 26-man. He's your RHH C2/1B2/OF6/DH. He'll play a lot while Turner is hurt.
Paxton and Bello start on the IL and in extended Spring Training. I don't mind ramping both of them up a bit more slowly and not throwing either into the frigid northeastern April temperatures. We can face Baltimore and Pittsburgh without them, and then option Crawford for Paxton and then Bello is the next up.
Valdez, Chang and Refsnyder get bench spots; I might prefer to keep Tapia, but he doesn't have a 40-man spot, and we need Abreu's spot for Alfaro.

So this gives us the following 26-man roster for Opening Day.

C: McGuire
C/IF/OF: Alfaro
IF: Devers, Hernández, Arroyo, Casas, Chang, Valdez
OF: Yoshida, Duvall, Verdugo, Refsnyder, Duran

SP: Kluber, Sale, Whitlock, Pivetta, Crawford
RP: Jansen, Houck, Martin, Schreiber, Rodríguez, Brasier, Bleier, Mills.

Depth on the 40-man: Bello, Wong, Hamilton, Dalbec, Ort, Kelly, Mata, Walter, Murphy. That's an excellent positional distribution, especially once Duran comes back down and Abreu comes back; this is a much more deep and balanced 40-man roster than we had last year. I talked myself into Alfaro to preserve that depth during Wong's option year.

If everyone's healthy (everyone will not be healthy):

When Paxton is ready, Crawford gets optioned.
If and when Mondesí is healthy, he bumps Chang and moves into a rotation with Arroyo and Hernández.
When Turner is healthy, Valdez gets optioned.
When Story is healthy, Duran gets optioned and Hernández returns to the OF.
When Abreu is healthy... I think that's finally the end of Ort?
When Bello forces his way back up, Pivetta is traded midseason for a prospect package because of how confident we are in Mata, Winckowski, Murphy, and Walter providing quality depth.

So the final form of the ideal version of this roster in which everything goes smoothly health-wise from here (which, again, will not happen in reality) looks like this:

C: McGuire L, Alfaro R
IF: Devers L, Story R, Arroyo R, Casas L, Mondesí S, Turner R
OF: Yoshida L, Duvall R, Hernández R, Verdugo L, Refsnyder R

SP: Kluber R, Sale L, Paxton L, Bello R, Whitlock R
RP: Jansen R, Houck R, Martin R, Schreiber R, Rodríguez L, Brasier R, Bleier L, Mills R

But with the positional coverage on the 40-man, I really feel like we're much better positioned to survive the vicissitudes of an actual season than in recent years.
 

joe dokes

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Unless they use the offdays during the first week to skip a turn, I dont see a path for Whitlock to start the season in the rotation.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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I don’t think you can go with Alfaro as your only back at C and 1B that early in the season. I’d swap Dalbec for Valdez and think we are good to go. And doubt Whitlock is ready which opens up a spot for Kelly or Ort.
 

YTF

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As for the 26-man roster, here's what I think I would do (i.e. as of now) after this recent spate of injuries.

Turner to the 15-day IL. Don't rush him back for opening day. Let his face heal up properly, and then get him back swinging.
Wilyer Abreu to the 60-day IL.
Wong optioned.
Alfaro to the 40-man and the 26-man. He's your RHH C2/1B2/OF6/DH. He'll play a lot while Turner is hurt.
Paxton and Bello start on the IL and in extended Spring Training. I don't mind ramping both of them up a bit more slowly and not throwing either into the frigid northeastern April temperatures. We can face Baltimore and Pittsburgh without them, and then option Crawford for Paxton and then Bello is the next up.
Valdez, Chang and Refsnyder get bench spots; I might prefer to keep Tapia, but he doesn't have a 40-man spot, and we need Abreu's spot for Alfaro.

So this gives us the following 26-man roster for Opening Day.

C: McGuire
C/IF/OF: Alfaro
IF: Devers, Hernández, Arroyo, Casas, Chang, Valdez
OF: Yoshida, Duvall, Verdugo, Refsnyder, Duran

SP: Kluber, Sale, Whitlock, Pivetta, Crawford
RP: Jansen, Houck, Martin, Schreiber, Rodríguez, Brasier, Bleier, Mills.

Depth on the 40-man: Bello, Wong, Hamilton, Dalbec, Ort, Kelly, Mata, Walter, Murphy. That's an excellent positional distribution, especially once Duran comes back down and Abreu comes back; this is a much more deep and balanced 40-man roster than we had last year. I talked myself into Alfaro to preserve that depth during Wong's option year.

If everyone's healthy (everyone will not be healthy):

When Paxton is ready, Crawford gets optioned.
If and when Mondesí is healthy, he bumps Chang and moves into a rotation with Arroyo and Hernández.
When Turner is healthy, Valdez gets optioned.
When Story is healthy, Duran gets optioned and Hernández returns to the OF.
When Abreu is healthy... I think that's finally the end of Ort?
When Bello forces his way back up, Pivetta is traded midseason for a prospect package because of how confident we are in Mata, Winckowski, Murphy, and Walter providing quality depth.

So the final form of the ideal version of this roster in which everything goes smoothly health-wise from here (which, again, will not happen in reality) looks like this:

C: McGuire L, Alfaro R
IF: Devers L, Story R, Arroyo R, Casas L, Mondesí S, Turner R
OF: Yoshida L, Duvall R, Hernández R, Verdugo L, Refsnyder R

SP: Kluber R, Sale L, Paxton L, Bello R, Whitlock R
RP: Jansen R, Houck R, Martin R, Schreiber R, Rodríguez L, Brasier R, Bleier L, Mills R

But with the positional coverage on the 40-man, I really feel like we're much better positioned to survive the vicissitudes of an actual season than in recent years.
Here's one thing to consider with Alfaro. I think much of his positional flexibility is an "in case of emergency break glass" type deal. That's not to say that he won't be occasionally pressed into duty at other positions, but generally speaking teams shy away from starting both catchers in the same game on a semi regular basis.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Unless they use the offdays during the first week to skip a turn, I dont see a path for Whitlock to start the season in the rotation.
Right now, with Paxton and Bello also up in the air, it looks like it will be Kluber, Sale, Houck, Pivetta, and Crawford. If Whitlock is ready to go at the end of spring, I expect he'd be in that fifth slot ahead of Crawford.


Wong optioned.
Alfaro to the 40-man and the 26-man. He's your RHH C2/1B2/OF6/DH. He'll play a lot while Turner is hurt.
Just wanted to key on this. If the expectation is Alfaro would DH a bunch in Turner's absence, I think they bring Wong also. I know Cora did it with Vazquez and Plawecki on occasion, but I don't expect him to put both catchers in the lineup at the same time. At least not early in the season or at DH where they could be forced to put a pitcher at bat if a move is needed.

If it's Alfaro alone as the backup C, then the solution to Turner's absence will more likely be a DH platoon of Dalbec and Yoshida/Refsnyder.
 

chawson

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Aug 1, 2006
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Alfaro has the opt out / mobility clause before opening day, though, makes it difficult to stash him. They’ve only got two catchers on the 40 after carrying 4 last year. I suspect the ultimate move is to DFA a pitcher (or trade Dalbec or Duran), add Alfaro, and keep Wong in AAA, but guess we shall see.
As for the 26-man roster, here's what I think I would do (i.e. as of now) after this recent spate of injuries.

Turner to the 15-day IL. Don't rush him back for opening day. Let his face heal up properly, and then get him back swinging.
Wilyer Abreu to the 60-day IL.
Wong optioned.
Alfaro to the 40-man and the 26-man. He's your RHH C2/1B2/OF6/DH. He'll play a lot while Turner is hurt.
Paxton and Bello start on the IL and in extended Spring Training. I don't mind ramping both of them up a bit more slowly and not throwing either into the frigid northeastern April temperatures. We can face Baltimore and Pittsburgh without them, and then option Crawford for Paxton and then Bello is the next up.
Valdez, Chang and Refsnyder get bench spots; I might prefer to keep Tapia, but he doesn't have a 40-man spot, and we need Abreu's spot for Alfaro.

So this gives us the following 26-man roster for Opening Day.

C: McGuire
C/IF/OF: Alfaro
IF: Devers, Hernández, Arroyo, Casas, Chang, Valdez
OF: Yoshida, Duvall, Verdugo, Refsnyder, Duran

SP: Kluber, Sale, Whitlock, Pivetta, Crawford
RP: Jansen, Houck, Martin, Schreiber, Rodríguez, Brasier, Bleier, Mills.

Depth on the 40-man: Bello, Wong, Hamilton, Dalbec, Ort, Kelly, Mata, Walter, Murphy. That's an excellent positional distribution, especially once Duran comes back down and Abreu comes back; this is a much more deep and balanced 40-man roster than we had last year. I talked myself into Alfaro to preserve that depth during Wong's option year.

If everyone's healthy (everyone will not be healthy):

When Paxton is ready, Crawford gets optioned.
If and when Mondesí is healthy, he bumps Chang and moves into a rotation with Arroyo and Hernández.
When Turner is healthy, Valdez gets optioned.
When Story is healthy, Duran gets optioned and Hernández returns to the OF.
When Abreu is healthy... I think that's finally the end of Ort?
When Bello forces his way back up, Pivetta is traded midseason for a prospect package because of how confident we are in Mata, Winckowski, Murphy, and Walter providing quality depth.

So the final form of the ideal version of this roster in which everything goes smoothly health-wise from here (which, again, will not happen in reality) looks like this:

C: McGuire L, Alfaro R
IF: Devers L, Story R, Arroyo R, Casas L, Mondesí S, Turner R
OF: Yoshida L, Duvall R, Hernández R, Verdugo L, Refsnyder R

SP: Kluber R, Sale L, Paxton L, Bello R, Whitlock R
RP: Jansen R, Houck R, Martin R, Schreiber R, Rodríguez L, Brasier R, Bleier L, Mills R

But with the positional coverage on the 40-man, I really feel like we're much better positioned to survive the vicissitudes of an actual season than in recent years.
These make sense to me. I don't know the precise optimal points to slip fringe players through waivers but it seems intuitive that Ort is likelier to at the end of spring training than he was in January.

I think Tapia could make it onto the 26 for his ability to play center. I doubt that both Duran and Dalbec start the season in Worcester, but that's possible. Tapia and Duran seem incredibly redundant, though both have different skill sets.

One interesting note in @nvalvo's scenario is this line:

If and when Mondesí is healthy, he bumps Chang and moves into a rotation with Arroyo and Hernández.
By bumps do you mean DFA off the 26 and potentially outright to the minors? (I believe he's still eligible for that). Because my sense is that Mondesi will be ready fairly quickly. Chad Jennings reported a bunch of pretty interesting news and notes in a story in The Athletic last week, with a decent section on Mondesi.

"He's a strong dude, and his first day on the field, Red Sox officials talked publicly and privately about how well he was moving. I still don't think Mondesi will be available for Opening Day — despite his own stated desire to break camp with the team — but it's not at all surprising that this kid got a ton of prospect attention. He really looks the part if he can stay healthy....

"Speaking of Mondesi, I can't say how much the Red Sox are planning to play him once he's healthy, but I would note that when Cora was asked this week about Christian Arroyo's injury history, Cora went out of his way to mention that Kiké Hernández, too, has had some trouble staying healthy lately. 'When everybody's healthy, we'll protect all of them.' Cora said. 'I think we're deep enough that we can accomplish that.' Translation (at least in my mind): All three of those guys are going to play quite a bit."


If that's how it plays out, it's an interesting move by Bloom. Having Chang around in the minors is solid insurance, but if we outright him in late April and another team claims him, which could easily happen (and did three times last year), that team will assume basically all of his $850K salary.