It doesn't appear the Boston Red Sox will make any further major additions to the roster ahead of Spring Training. There's still time for that to change, but comments from the front office in recent weeks do not provide a lot of confidence.
It's a sad reality but one fans are going to have to accept. Boston may not be any better than they were in 2023.
Red Sox insider Sean McAdam recently shared a list of what he deemed a "way-too-soon" roster projection as spring training approaches.
There are some usual suspects that fans would expect to be penciled in on the Opening Day roster. However, that this list could change with any surprise performances in Fort Meyers.
Connor Wong and Reese McGuire are expected to be the catching tandem at the start of the season. It's unlikely, but Kyle Teel could sneak up on everyone and make a case for himself. More than likely he'll open the season at Double-A or Triple-A.
McAdam points out that Boston did add Roberto Perez this offseason and could serve as the third catcher option in the event something should happen with the other two.
He predicts Boston will carry six infielders including Triston Casas, Vaughn Grissom, Trevor Story, Rafael Devers, Pablo Reyes, and Bobby Dalbec. As for the outfield, the Sox currently have Masataka Yoshida, Tyler O’Neill, Jarren Duran, Wilyer Abreu, and Rob Refsnyder lined up for 2024.
There is no clear option for a designated hitter at the moment but that could change at some point. J.D. Martinez is still available but it's doubtful the powers that be pull the trigger on that kind of deal.
That brings us to the pitching aspect of the roster and it provides fans with an answer on any chance at a Kenley Jansen trade.
As far as starters go, McAdam projects Boston will have Lucas Giolito, Brayan Bello, Nick Pivetta, Kutter Crawford, and Garrett Whitlock in the starting rotation for 2024. That rotation certainly doesn't strike fear in the heart of opponents, but it's what the Red Sox have to work with currently.
It's a shame that the one area that Boston desperately needed to upgrade, wasn't really addressed.
As for the bullpen, it appears that the Red Sox relief core will be composed of Kenley Jansen, Chris Martin, Tanner Houck, Josh Winckowski, Brennan Bernardino, John Schreiber, Justin Slaten, and Bryan Mata.
Yup, as of now, Jansen is still expected to be the closer heading into 2024. Jansen had an All-Star season in 2023, so it isn't a bad thing to keep him around. However, with his value at the highest it will be, Boston needs to capitalize.
There are rumblings that he could end up back with the Dodgers as LA has been tied to Jansen in recent trade rumors. This would help possibly get some money off the books and allow the Red Sox some flexibility during the season. Assuming they don't throw money in the deal like they did for Chris Sale.
Jansen could still be dealt, but again, the fact a Red Sox insider included him in predictions for the 2024 roster shows the writing is on the wall. Maybe they wait to see if they can do anything relevant in the division race and then dangle him at the trade deadline? They can still offload upwards of $8 million of his salary if they do that.
The rest of the bullpen is fine for the most part. Chris Martin is an elite relief option for the late innings (and could also later be considered a trade candidate). One weakness, as addressed by McAdam, is that the Sox only have one left-handed reliever. That'll be something to pay attention to.
But for now, Jansen is a Red Sox and it'll likely stay that way. Barring a surprise, Jansen's market going quiet after the trade rumors popped up lines up with McAdam's roster prediction, so it's hard to disagree with the assessment.