Vaughn Grissom injury could pave way for 4 Red Sox players to make Opening Day roster

2024 Boston Red Sox Spring Training
2024 Boston Red Sox Spring Training / Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/GettyImages

The Boston Red Sox acquired Vaughn Grissom from the Braves this offseason to be their everyday starting second baseman for hopefully quite some time.

But Grissom hasn't played in any of Boston's spring training games yet. He was sidelined with a hamstring injury that wasn't regarded as serious. He was originally expected to play this past Sunday, but another injury set him back even further.

Red Sox manager Alex Cora said that Grissom has been "shut down" with a groin strain. He missed his Grapefruit League debut, and he's set to miss much more. Grissom will likely be recovering past Opening Day.

"I was just taking ground balls, and it bit me," Grissom said to Dawn Klemish of "... Obviously, it [stinks]. New group, I want to be out there with the guys, so it's definitely frustrating."

With Grissom's Opening Day roster spot now open, the Red Sox have some work to do to determine who the starting second baseman will be in his stead. Infielder Enmanuel Valdez has been slotting in for him in spring training, however his defense leaves something to be desired.

Vaughn Grissom's injury opens up a Red Sox roster spot for Enmanuel Valdez, Romy González, Pablo Reyes or Bobby Dalbec

Valdez posted -7 outs above average in his 49-game stint with the big-league club last season. His arm strength is on the low end, too.

But the Sox have a lot of options with potential to fill in at second base. Cora has been praising Bobby Dalbec all offseason and suggesting he has a chance to make the team. This could be it.

Dalbec is a natural first baseman with the ability to play elsehwere in the infield. This spring, he's also been training in the outfield to up his versatility since the Sox's farm system stacked with infielders. Fortunately for Dalbec, many of Boston's prospects with the skillset for second base are not big-league ready, presenting him with the chance to make his mark on the 26-man roster.

The Red Sox also acquired 27-year-old utility infielder Romy González from the White Sox this winter. He's played a small sample size of major league games — just 86 over three seasons. Dalbec and Valdez have better bats than González, but his arm is stronger, thus giving him a better chance to turn quick outs.

Pablo Reyes could also fit in Grissom's spot. He's a 30-year-old utility player with talents suited to both the infield and outfield. Reyes is the oldest of Boston's options — although, not by much with Dalbec coming in at 29 years old — and he has the most big-league experience. Reyes also strikes out much less than Dalbec, Valdez and González, and the Sox would probably get the most mileage out of him on both sides of the ball.

But how the players show out at spring training will factor into Boston's choice for Opening Day. So far, Dalbec is putting up the best numbers with a .333 batting average. Reyes is second with a .273 average and González follows, logging a .133 — he's struck out three times in 15 at-bats this spring.

Valdez is putting up the worst offensive showing by a wide margin. In nine spring training at-bats, he's struck out five times and has yet to register a hit.

The Red Sox's Opening Day second baseman race is up in the air as of now. Maybe Cora and the rest of Boston's coaching staff would be open to trying other players besides Valdez in Grissom's spot. González, Dalbec or Reyes could work Valdez out of an Opening Day job.

Regardless of who takes the spot, the Red Sox are going to have an unexpected face in the starting lineup for quite some time.

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