These Red Sox are in danger of getting squeezed off 2024 Opening Day roster

2024 Dominican Republic Series - Boston Red Sox v Tampa Bay Rays
2024 Dominican Republic Series - Boston Red Sox v Tampa Bay Rays / Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/GettyImages

The Boston Red Sox season opens in less than a week. The 26-man roster is far from final — the starting rotation wasn't determined until Friday afternoon.

But before Thursday, the Red Sox need to narrow their Opening Day squad down to 26 players. The roster is bound to go through many changes throughout the season, especially with all the current injured Red Sox.

The Opening Day roster will feature depth options in the infield as Vaughn Grissom rehabs from a groin issue. Rob Refsnyder is also sidelined with a fractured toe and he's likely destined for the major league roster upon his return. Changes are imminent all over.

Fans and reporters have been pleasantly surprised with the Red Sox's play this spring. Their pitching is better than imagined and their offense has recently taken off at a run. Unforeseen successes for players up and down the roster will make final cut decisions exceptionally hard, but only 26 active players can travel to Seattle to start the season.

These Red Sox are currently in danger of getting squeezed off 2024 Opening Day roster

Joely Rodríguez

The Red Sox's pitching staff is shockingly low on lefties, and a possibly season-ending injury to promising lefty reliever Chris Murphy doesn't help matters. Brennan Bernardino is Boston's only lefty who's a lock for the roster, but the Sox invited two others to camp to give them a chance show off their stuff.

Lucas Luetge and Joely Rodríguez have been pitching well for Boston in Grapefruit League play. Both have the chance to opt out of their contracts with the Red Sox if they don't make the Opening Day roster, so the team needs to make the right decision. And Luetge has pitched more innings and has better numbers than Rodríguez. On Friday, Rodriguez opted out of his deal, so the clock is ticking. But he may have made the Red Sox's decision a bit easier.

Luetge has pitched to a 2.25 ERA with 10 strikeouts and a 0.88 WHIP over eight innings. Rodríguez has posted a 2.57 ERA with nine strikeouts and a 1.71 WHIP over seven innings. While the sample size of innings for each pitcher is small, Luetge has the edge.

Since both pitchers are throwing well and Boston is desperate for lefty arms, they might both crack the Opening Day roster, especially since they can both opt out. But if the Red Sox can only choose one lefty to make the cut, it's probably going to be Luetge.

Bobby Dalbec

Bobby Dalbec has been having a fine spring training. But his skill set doesn't match the needs of the Red Sox infield while Grissom is sidelined.

Dalbec's defensive skills are best suited to the corner infield slots, specifically first base, and hasn't spent much time in the middle infield in his career. He's played just seven games at second or short in the big leagues.

The Red Sox also signed C.J. Cron, a veteran first baseman, in the middle of spring training. The contract he signed would allow him to opt out if he doesn't make the Opening Day roster. Boston would most likely want to hold on to an experienced asset, especially since Dalbec has one minor league option left and the Sox are in no danger of losing him if he doesn't make the 26-man roster.

Manager Alex Cora expressed his confidence in Dalbec's potential to make the team this year. The injury to Grissom and the signing of Cron severely affected his chances to open the season in the bigs, but there is plenty of time for Dalbec to play in the majors this year, especially with his newfound defensive versatility in the outfield.

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