Red Sox Spring Training: Battle for bullpen spots heating up

Phillips Valdez of the Boston Red Sox. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
Phillips Valdez of the Boston Red Sox. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images) /
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Red Sox pitcher Kevin McCarthy
FT. MYERS, FL – FEBRUARY 22: Kevin McCarthy #61 of the Boston Red Sox throws during a spring training team workout on February 22, 2021 at jetBlue Park at Fenway South in Fort Myers, Florida. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images) /

Top choices for final Red Sox bullpen spots

We have our candidates but can only pick two to open the season on the active roster. Perhaps we should phrase it as we are forced to pick two considering it’s a struggle to find multiple appealing options in this group.

The Red Sox need to find room for McCarthy since he’s clearly the only one who has impressed among this quartet of relievers this spring. Plus, he owns a decent 3.80 ERA over five seasons as a reliever for the Royals.

McCarthy is the top choice, even if it comes at the expense of cutting ties with Brice, who is out of options and hasn’t done enough to earn an opportunity this spring.

That leaves Valdez and Brewer fighting over the final spot. Both have minor league options so they can be sent to the minors without sacrificing their claim to a 40-man roster spot. Valdez has the higher upside but he’s been a mess lately, making Brewer the safer choice to open the season in the big leagues even if he isn’t destined to stick around long-term.

Next. Red Sox breakout candidates for 2021. dark

Opening Day is just over a week away, leaving little time for these pitchers to change our minds. A strong finish to camp from any of these relievers could shake things up but we have a fairly clear picture of how the Red Sox bullpen will look to begin the season.