The Boston Red Sox Opening Day roster is starting to take shape
The Boston Red Sox announced a series of roster moves on Wednesday that provide some clarity on the group they intend to open the season with.
Right-handed pitcher Tanner Houck has been optioned to the Alternate Training site. The success from last year’s audition hasn’t carried over to this spring. Houck has surrendered six earned runs and walked 10 batters in 6 1/3 innings this spring. The Red Sox are intent on developing him as a starter rather than converting him into a reliever for the sake of keeping him at the major league level. Houck will presumably begin the season at Triple-A as he works to recapture the magic he displayed in 2020.
Houck being taken out of the mix essentially locks Nick Pivetta into the No. 5 starter role to open the season. Pivetta has impressed this spring, posting a 3.00 ERA in nine innings of work while striking out eight batters and allowing only one walk.
The Red Sox reassigned seven players to the minor leagues: catcher Kole Cottam, right-handed pitcher Daniel Gossett, left-handed pitcher Stephen Gonsalves, first baseman Josh Ockimey, infielder Triston Casas, outfielder Jarren Duran and utility man Yairo Munoz.
None of those decisions are particularly surprising as these players were long shots to begin the season in the majors. It was fun getting a chance to see the organization’s top prospect get in a few swings during his brief stint in camp but Casas isn’t close to major league ready considering he’s never played above the single-A level.
Red Sox fans are clamoring for the arrival of Duran but the electric outfield prospect still needs some seasoning in the minors. His blend of blazing speed and emerging power makes him an appealing option to fill out the outfield but the converted infielder is still learning how to patrol center field. He’s never played above Double-A and the Red Sox aren’t willing to rush him by having Duran skip a level following last year’s cancelled minor league season.
The most competitive position battle in camp has been between a collection of versatile players vying for the final bench spot. Munoz appears to be out of the race following his demotion to the minor leagues, leaving Michael Chavis, Christian Arroyo, and Jonathan Arauz fighting for that spot.
None of these players have done anything that would cost them an opportunity. Chavis is hitting .273 with a 1.030 OPS and four home runs. Arroyo is batting .290 with a pair of homers. Arauz is hitting .321 with a home run and a team-leading five doubles.
Munoz has seen the least amount of playing time from this group but he’s arguably been the most impressive, batting .444 in 18 at-bats. He also has the most outfield experience among these players, which could come in handy with Franchy Cordero‘s status for Opening Day in question.
It’s somewhat surprising that Munoz was bounced from this competition given those circumstances but it’s clear the Red Sox have several options they are comfortable with to fill out their bench.
Chavis might be the odd man out since he has minor league options remaining. If Cordero isn’t ready to go to begin the season and the Red Sox need two of the three remaining players in this position battle, it increases Chavis’ chances of breaking camp with the major league team.
We’re still a couple of weeks away from the start of the regular season but in the wake of these latest roster moves we now have fewer question marks about the roster the Red Sox will bring with them to Opening Day.