What you see this spring is what you’ll get from the Red Sox in 2019

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 31: Boston Red Sox Manager Alex Cora holds the World Series trophy during the 2018 World Series victory parade on October 31, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 31: Boston Red Sox Manager Alex Cora holds the World Series trophy during the 2018 World Series victory parade on October 31, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images) /

The Boston Red Sox spring training will be rather boring with no real position controversies with the exception of a closer. Now hopefully it will also be injury free.

The roster is just about set for the Red Sox, but expect some minor transactions – the type that elicits a yawn. You may see a Blake Swihart or Christian Vazquez shuffled off for a player who will be a trivia question in a few seasons. Maybe another player or two will collect a ring Opening Day and be shipped off to a baseball purgatory such as Baltimore.

The structure of the roster will begin to be formalized with the most notable competition being just who will surface as the closer. With the exorbitant penalties of the luxury tax placing Craig Kimbrel on the ultimate longshot list to return. So the weeding out process will commence and the notables will be jockeying for position. Plenty of money potentially on the table for the winner.

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Rookies are a virtually extinct breed for this roster unless Michael Chavis or Bobby Dalbec suddenly hit a dozen or so home runs, but potential support players are not.  The Red Sox have already scoured – as have other teams – the baseball universe for the stockpile that will take place at Pawtucket (AAA) until needed, released, or traded.

The stockpile generally offers no real baseball sustenance, but a Ryan Brasier always gets the nod that the occasional gem is found mining the baseball world. Just who will survive will be a semi-noteworthy subplot in the Red Sox spring training drama.

The other noteworthy drama focuses on health and that means arms and knees most notably Dustin Pedroia’s knee and Chris Sale’s shoulder. The other notable knee is pitcher Steven Wright who has already been consigned to the bullpen as per manager Alex Cora. The remainder regarding health is to collectively avoid injury complications.

The core roster is in place and when you win 108 games the job openings are limited, so evaluation will take place. Is this team as good as 2018? What does the rotation resemble? Baseball mulch or exquisite quality? I certainly lean towards quality. I feel quite comfortable projecting this rotation as the best since Smoky Joe Wood and Hugh Bedient took the hill in 1912.

I expect no tumultuous roster surprises. No Rafael Devers to the bench replaced by Tzu-Wei Lin. Now the who plays first battle.  Mitch Moreland or Steve Pearce? Both are quite comfortable and fully immersed in their sharing of duties. No quarterback controversy at first or elsewhere unless Pedroia comes up on crutches.

The most significant issue that I see is a hangover or possible complacency. That is where Cora steps in and the Yankees.  Yes – the Yankees! The Yankees have been in a funk and smarting rather seriously from a historic beat down in the playoffs. The Yankees most certainly can be a rather gifted motivational tool and are itching to place Boston back to second citizen class in the American League East.

Complacency is an item I have a tendency to dismiss as baseball – particularly this Red Sox team – have become rather adept at the melding of the team and individual concept. I see no possible whining surfacing regarding playing time or any other minutia. And motivation certainly exists for the rather large collection of free agents – big and really, really big – money is on the table for several, but they appeared to be a centered group who will not casually toss aside team camaraderie for individual numbers.

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This will be a difficult season for the Red Sox since repeating is just that – historically difficult. I also see the Yankees as potentially a real roadblock to another division title, but likewise, the Red Sox rotation gives an edge in playoff situations. Pitching wins.

Time to sit back and watch spring training roll along or drone along. The possible highlight may just be the realignment in the broadcast booth.