One week from Friday it all starts (we hope). So naturally with the Red Sox' Opening Day so close it seems like a logical exercise to guess who might be on the 30-man roster.
It's a conversation that Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke entertained Wednesday.
"We kind of know what we want to do, but it's not locked in at that," he said via is daily Zoom call. "If we get to the last few days and we think maybe we need more than 15 pitchers and we need to go to 16 pitchers, then we'll do that. I know what I want to do, and that's probably 15 and 15. But I think when we get to these last few games, we'll have a better idea. As you know, the starting pitching has a lot to do with that, whether we're going to go with openers, how much length we're going to have, and are we carrying guys who are basically 3-4 inning guys who can cover your innings. And those conversations will go, certainly when we get to that Toronto series, we'll have a better idea of how many we want to go with."
So that's the template we will go off of, 15 position players and 15 pitchers.
Position players: Mitch Moreland, Michael Chavis, Jose Peraza, Xander Bogaerts, Rafaael Devers, Christian Vazquez, Kevin Plawecki, Jonathan Lucroy, Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley Jr., Kevin Pillar, Alex Verdugo, J.D. Martinez.
Pitchers: Nathan Eovaldi, Martin Perez, Ryan Weber, Brandon Workman, Ryan Brasier, Matt Barnes, Heath Hembree, Marcus Walden, Austin Brice, Colten Brewer, Darwinzon Hernandez (IL), Josh Taylor (IL), Eduardo Rodriguez (IL).
At this point, we have to assume that the three players put on the injured list won't be ready for the opener, leaving room for three more additions. Under that premise, we have 13 position players and 10 pitchers listed.
(It doesn't appear Collin McHugh will be quite ready so that is most likely another IL spot.)
Here is the best guess at the two additional position players: Tzu-Wei Lin and Yairo Munoz.
Lin is on the 40-man roster and has had a great couple of weeks. Munoz is obviously a big-league talent (196 games with the Cardinals in the last two seasons) who can play all over the infield and outfield. But a spot on the 40-man is going to need to be found. It is the same reality for non-roster invitee Lucroy, who has always seemed part of the plans. That leaves us Rule 5 guy Jonathan Arauz. While it might seem like a golden opportunity to keep the infielder around, it would appear to be a more logical move for Munoz to replace Arauz on the 40-man roster.
The pitchers aren't so turn-key.
Two more non-roster guys who would seem to be firmly in the mix (and potentially both parts of the Red Sox' rotation) are Brian Johnson and soon-to-be-signed Zack Godley. Let's say they both make the team, with the Red Sox jettisoning some more players from their 40-man in order to do so. That puts the list of pitchers at 12.
Let's go with Matt Hall, Jeffrey Springs and Josh Osich. All three are lefties -- helping temper the short-term loss of Hernandez and Taylor -- and on the 40-man roster.
To be honest, this list of 30 seems like a longshot because of how many 40-man spots would need to be cleared. The Red Sox' currently stands at 39 on their list, meaning with the proposed addition of non-roster guys Lucroy, Johnson and Godley that would necessitate two alterations. In this day and age of desperately needing depth, that isn't a drop in the bucket.
A complicated roster projection for complicated times.