Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora says that the final three spots in the bullpen remain up for grabs as we head into the final week of spring training.
We have less than a week to go before Opening Day and the Boston Red Sox still haven’t sorted out their bullpen.
Manager Alex Cora told reporters at JetBlue Park on Thursday that there are three spots up for grabs in the bullpen as the team finalizes its roster for the season opener in Seattle on March 28.
With the Red Sox expected to carry eight relievers, we can surmise that Cora has five names in mind who he considers locks to make the roster. While the manager hasn’t revealed which five, we have a pretty good idea of who those handful of relievers are.
Matt Barnes is an obvious choice considering he’s the frontrunner to get the first crack at being the team’s new closer. Ryan Brasier has been slowed by a toe infection this spring but his breakout 2018 season earns him a spot. Heath Hembree is coming off a down season but the coaching staff trusted him enough to log the fourth most innings of any reliever on the team. The veteran has a solid track record and set a career-high strikeout rate last year.
Brian Johnson and Brandon Workman haven’t pitched well this spring but both are out of minor league options. Johnson has value as a long reliever who can make the occasional spot start. Workman has been a reliable bullpen option the last two years following two seasons lost to injury. Boston won’t want to risk losing either of them so we’ll assume they will be on the roster.