Red Sox possible roster changes as May Day approaches
The movie The Expendables was about an elite team of mercenaries, but my Red Sox expendables will certainly not be considered elite with a few notable exceptions. As the bell will soon toll on roster reduction, just who is expendable? The list is undoubtedly influenced by contract obligations, employment history, contractual conflict, and promise of future returns.
Watching the Red Sox this season is like trying to walk in deep mud. The hitting – a functionally anticipated strength – has shown a propensity for considering their bats made of rubber and not wood. Likewise, the pitching had demonstrated moments of success, but overall they rank – as do their hitters – in the lower third of metrics land. Jobs and demotions are on the line and possible trades.
Bobby Dalbec had a legion of true believers with his second-half performance in 2021, but he has mirrored the first half of 2021, somewhere between dreadful and Gawd awful. Bobby D looks like the proverbial easy out – usually with a painful to watch whiff session.
I could give kudos for supposedly improved defense, but in a recent loss to Tampa Bay, Dalbec was well out of position, and Trevor Story picked up an error. Dalbec has two options remaining, but I am inclined to place him into the stay category for at least another month.
When I read the stat line for Travis Shaw, I am reminded of my favorite candy bar of the last century – the zero bar, representing Shaw’s accomplishments this season. A straight across the landscape zero, and Shaw will last as long as the unnamed ensign in a Star Trek landing party on a hostile planet.
Right-hander Phillips Valdez has had a moment of a positive impact this season, and Valdez also has a lone option dangling over his baseball cap. With the mandatory number of pitchers legislated to 15 and then to 13, Valdez could be returning to the hospitality of Worm Town. Kutter Crawford provides the same service with a better upside.
Speaking of Crawford and duplication of services, that brings into mention 34-year-old righty Ryan Brasier. Brasier could face the inevitable and pay a visit to the waiver wire, and someone will pick him up if that happens.
A $9.4 million salary is the possible supportive cocoon for righty Matt Barnes. Barnes’s velocity issue exists but so do performance standards that seemed to have taken a hiatus after the Red Sox signed him to a three-year deal. Barnes can still be a positive, but I am sure if you hacked into Chaim Bloom’s cell phone, much trade activity would center on Barnes.
Right-hander Tyler Danish made the trek from the WooSox to Boston and, in three innings, has walked six and struck out 15. Boston is Danish’s fourth organization, and there will be a fifth, and it could be this season.
Two-star players have created excessive internet ink – Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts. Bogaerts is on the cusp of an opt-out and cannot be traded without his approval. Not so with Devers. The Red Sox and Devers are adrift in the early negotiations for an extension. Will or would Boston consider him unsignable and trade Devers to minimize their potential losses?
Right-hander Nick Pivetta wore out his pitching promise with Philadelphia, and Boston picked him up in an excellent trade. In 2021, Pivetta went 9-8, and big things were expected. In 2022, Pivetta has been crushed. Pivetta will not be a roster casualty on May Day but expect a stay in the bullpen if his downward spiral continues.
When May arrives and Boston reduces their roster from 28 to 26, I will go with Shaw and Valdez expunged from the roster. That will leave addressing the 13 required bodies on the pitching staff. Brasier would be the likely candidate, but roster manipulation is an art form, so someone may have an IL visit.