Enrique Gonzalez will be in Pawtucket before the day is over. That much is certain.
So that clears up how Tim Wakefield gets his spot back on the roster when he starts tonight against the White Sox. But when Billy Wagner shows up to town tomorrow, who's the next to go?
It leaves three likely pitchers that could get the boot: Junichi Tazawa, Clay Buchholz or Brad Penny.
All three are starters, although Tazawa just replaced Penny in the rotation, at least for the time being. Here's what the rotation looks like with Wakefield back in the mix:
Maybe it seems clear cut that Penny is on the outside looking in, but would the Red Sox do that at this point of the season to Penny? Yes, he's been horrible, but they've also been very reluctant to do anything with him demoting him (until recently when he was benched).
So it might make more sense to send down either Buchholz or Tazawa. Buchholz has struggled as of late, while Tazawa is starting to get into a groove. However, sending down Buchholz could be a huge shock to his psyche -- something the Sox have tried to avoid as much as possible.
An outside candidate to lose his spot on the 25-man roster: Manny Delcarmen. While Manny hasn't been horrible this year, he hasn't been as good as the rest of the 'pen. He is obviously the weakest part of that bullpen at the moment (3.44 ERA, 1.47 WHIP) and Wagner, hopefully, could produce better than Manny D.
However, Manny D is a versatile relief pitcher. He can pitch more innings if need be and can pitch on less days rest. Wagner, just coming off Tommy John, can only reportedly pitch every three days. Do the Sox really want to lose a bullpen arm for another one that can only pitch every three days? It seems to me like Terry Francona might really need Manny in the bullpen if that's the case.
We'll wait and see over the next 48 hours. But what are your thoughts? Is it Penny's final days with the Sox, or will a younger buck see the door?