One of the most exciting aspects of spring training baseball involves prospects trying to make an impression on their respective managers. When the Red Sox started spring training there were the usual suspects in guys like Will Middlebrooks, Jose Iglesias, Ryan Lavarnway and a few others. If I had included Pedro Ciriaco in that list in the beginning of March, you likely would have called me crazy. The Dominican shortstop has made quite an impression this month as a non roster invitee to Red Sox camp so I thought we could take a look at the situation and see if he could fit anywhere.
After going 0-1 in Fridays game against the Twins, Ciriaco now carries a .405 average (15-37) with just four games remaining in spring training. To put this into contrast I looked at the leading candidate for the shortstop position Mike Aviles‘ numbers. Aviles has just two more hits than Ciriaco but he’s been to the plate 17 more times (54).
Neither of the two have shown much in the way of plate discipline with Ciriaco taking just one walk this spring and Aviles yet to take a base on balls but the former has shown a much better ability on the base paths with 5 SB in 6 tries compared to Aviles’ 1SB in 4 tries.
Ciriaco has also had the advantage thus far with a 1.143 OPS, 1HR, 7 RBI compared to the .759 OPS, 0HR, 4 RBI that Mike Aviles has posted this spring. When you look at the numbers you would think Bobby V would make room for the journeyman, even as a backup, but it’s not that simple.
The problem is the Red Sox don’t have a roster spot free to give Pedro Ciriaco a job as a backup infielder. In order to put him on the roster they would first have to make a move on the 40 man roster. Not to mention the Sox signed shortstop Nick Punto in the offseason to either platoon with or backup Mike Aviles. Punto hasn’t had a terrible spring (.250/.351/.313) but his offense has definitely been lacking to this point. The question is, would Bobby V and the Red Sox be bold enough to give Nick Punto’s roster spot to a 26 year old that very well could just be riding a hot streak? It’s very doubtful in my eyes.
Looking through the roster several times I can’t find an open spot that would make sense for Ciriaco. The kid has definitely opened a lot of eyes in Red Sox camp but I’m not sure that Bobby V can make room for him on the big club. This is the way that I predict the Sox will open the season..
A few of these players will require roster moves if they make the Opening Day roster, which in my opinion will make it even harder for Pedro Ciriaco to sneak on to the Red Sox roster April 5th. If the youngster continues to flash his potential in the Sox’ minor league system he could force the hand of Bobby Valentine at some point in the case of injury or other problems but for now I think he stays in the minors for a while.
Topics: 40-man Roster, Aaron Cook, Alfredo Aceves, Bobby Valentine, Cody Ross, Daniel Bard, Darnell McDonald, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Felix Doubront, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, Kevin Youkilis, Mike Aviles, Nick Punto, Pedro Ciriaco, Red Sox, Ryan Sweeney, Spring Training