An early look at possible Boston Red Sox roster changes

Boston Red Sox Spring Training
Boston Red Sox Spring Training / Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/GettyImages

The Boston Red Sox have begun with a bang, but the bang is on offense and the pitching will see some significant shifts. The roster will shift, especially as key players return and other players on the roster cusp may soon visit Worcester or the infamous Designated for Assignment (DFA) list. The transaction wire will be a daily excursion in professional pain or hope.

The starters have had about as much success as Custer did at Little Big Horn, but soon, Garrett Whitlock will return. I expect Kutter Crawford to be quickly heading to Worm City, and Crawford has two options left and has been treated rudely in his 23-game MLB career.

Offensively the catching could have been more dynamic, and for tossing out runners, neither catcher appears to have howitzer material as a right arm. But a decent bat can vaporize that. If things continue asunder, 6-foot-3 bruiser Jorge Alfaro can be called up. Alfaro has five years in the bigs with a career .256 average and 47 home runs. I suspect we may soon see the righty hitter.

Triston Casas has a cap full of options, but how much patience will management have? The Red Sox signed 31-year-old lefty hitting Daniel Palka, who has professional time at first base. Palka swings a big bat and once pounded 27 home runs for the White Sox. The downside is that big bat is often a breeze machine, with Palka posting a career 34.7% strikeout rate.

The speed game is all the rave in MLB with that extra few inches in the new bag, limited pickoffs, and catchers often gassed over the suddenly quick environment. Boston has been late to the party, but now in Worcester is David Hamilton, who is numero uno in the organization speed derby.

Hamilton is playing shortstop for the WooSox, and it would be difficult to budge Enrique Hernández out of that position, or would it? Hernández can play all over the place with a unique talent for center field. Hamilton could be in for a move if issues surface in the outfield over the next six weeks.

Returning pitchers will cause Red Sox April roster changes

Back to the pitching. Brayan Bello will eventually take his position in the rotation. So will James Paxton (maybe). Josh Winckowski and Kaleb Ort have options and have already experienced the Boston-Worcester shuttle.

Ryan Braiser reminds me of Colonel Kilgore in the movie Apocolypse Now. Kilgore was immune to the battle around him, and Braiser seems immune from being exorcised from the roster. Braiser opened the season on a sour note and, at 35 years old, may become an early roster fatality. I could see Braiser gone when lefty Joely Rodríquez was ready to go.

Yu Chang made the roster despite the considerable time spent in the World Baseball Classic, where the versatile infielder shined. Could Chang eventually be replaced by Niko Goodrum and his career 85 wRC+? Is Chang another possible lifeline for Bobby Dalbec?