Predicting Red Sox Spring Training Positional Battles

Bullpen

Cooper Neill/Getty Images North America

Cooper Neill/Getty Images North America

Closer: Koji Uehara

The 39 year-old Uehara re-signed with Boston on what will likely be the last deal of his career, a two year $18 million deal. If the Red Sox get 2013 and pre-ASB 2014 Uehara then this signing will be great for the team. But if we continue to see him pitch the way he did down the stretch in 2014 this contract will look really bad, but more importantly, the bullpen may be in serious trouble. A lot will be riding on his performance.

Set-Up Man: Junichi Tazawa

There were some murmurs, that Taz was looking for a chance to either close or start. Assuming there is nothing to these rumors, he will remain where he is best suited, as a terrific 8th inning pitcher. The 28-year-old has been great for the team and should continue that success as he enters his prime years.

RHP: Anthony Varvaro

Acquired from the Braves in December as an unheralded but talented name, Varvaro is another right handed weapon for manager John Farrell to utilize in late innings. The 30-year-old had a 2.63 ERA with an 8.2 K/9 and 49.7% groundball rate in 2014.

LHP: Robbie Ross Jr.

One of the more recent additions to the team, Ross was sent to Boston from the Rangers for pitching prospect Anthony Ranaudo. The 25 year-old Ross struggled after being moved to the rotation in 2014, but was a good southpaw reliever in 2012-2013.

RHP: Edward Mujica

A possible trade candidate, it looks for now as though Mujica will play out the remaining year on his two year deal with Boston. Mujica came alive down the stretch as Uehara faltered but on the season his ERA was 3.90.

LHP: Craig Breslow

This was a surprising re-sign in my mind. Breslow was a high character guy, but had a really rough 2014. The team will be counting on a bounce back from him as well.

Swingman: Alexi Ogando

Possibly the most talented pitcher in the bullpen, Ogando was electric as both a starter and a reliever from 2010-2013. He dealt with numerous injuries in 2014, but should he prove healthy, will likely make the team.

Just Missed: Brandon Workman, Edwin Escobar, Matt Barnes, Tommy Layne

6 Responses

  1. sparkyII

    I must say this was the best YB article I have enjoyed to date. Too bad the Sox can’t keep all of those players mentioned in this run down but hey, it looks to be a great trade line up. I along with many Sox fans will be disappointed to see some of our favourites not on the roster come April but that’s baseball. It don’t get any better than this.

    Reply
    • Ryan Hathaway

      Wow that is tremendous praise, thank you very much I’m happy you enjoyed my piece. It was an exciting winter and I can’t wait for this season to get started but it’s also quite exciting to remember how much flexibility this team has in both this season and beyond. There are so many trade possibilities and so many prospects that can be plugged into this team if it doesn’t work. It’ll be interesting to see how it shakes out and you’re right, it really doesn’t get any better than this!

      Reply
      • sparkyII

        I wasn’t expecting a response from you but I’m glad you did. It’s nice to know some writers do indeed follow up by reading comments from the readers. I will be following you throughout the season so keep up the good work.
        One other thing, I predict the Sox, Cole Hammels, and the Phillies will come to terms by the end of March if not sooner. What’s your thoughts?

      • Ryan Hathaway

        Again appreciated, seeing a comment at the bottom of my posts is one of my favorite aspects of this job.

        For me, too, Hamels or another pitching addition seems quite likely. Though I’m not sure it will happen by March. I think that Amaro and Cherington are in a stand off and I think that either Amaro will budge or Cherington will move onto someone else like Johnny Cueto, Jordan Zimmermann, or Doug Fister sometime before the deadline.

        In terms of a spring training trade, I actually think it is more likely the team takes a look at Cliff Lee if he proves healthy.

      • sparkyII

        You’re probably right on the trade dead line, I’m just getting anxious, but I keep thinking the Phills are a lot more desperate than they let on. Getting rid of Hamel’s contract and adding a top prospect is better than playing in limbo for another year. I wonder how the Philly fans will react to the stalemate their team is in and how long their GM will keep his job under such pressure.

      • sparkyII

        One other thought: the Sox have been interested in Cole Hamels for a long time and he would be much more affordable than Zimmerman and the others you named. One top prospect and two prospects of lesser value would or should be enough to make this deal happen. It would be to the
        Sox advantage to have Hamels in ST along with the rest of the team

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