Opening Day for the Red Sox is tomorrow, and real baseball that doesn't require a lengthy flight to Japan or a 6 am wake-up to view is happening tonight. That means it's time for the full rosters for Opening Day to be set. And set they were:
No surprises here -- it's the starting lineup minus Carl Crawford, as both Cody Ross and Ryan Sweeney are starting in the outfield.
The Red Sox are carrying 13 pitchers, but that's likely temporary. (Aside: it better be temporary, as 13 pitchers is too many.) Losing out on Andrew Bailey made the bullpen a little thinner, and since Justin Thomas still has an option, he could be placed in Pawtucket at the first moment they need that roster spot back. It's also just the beginning of the year, and while the pitchers are more stretched out than they were in February, they aren't in mid-season form, as it were. Speaking of Bailey, Alfredo Aceves will be taking his job as closer while Bailey is among the missing.
Vicente Padilla, Justin Thomas, and Scott Atchison all have to be added to the 40-man roster, meaning it's likely we'll see a few players -- including Andrew Bailey -- added to the 60-day disabled list to make room, as Ben Buchanan mentioned was a possibility yesterday, by way of Brian MacPherson.
For now, all of the Red Sox pitchers out of options made the team, but if their extended experiments in the majors don''t work (we're looking at you, Michael Bowden), then it's easy to pick out who it is the Red Sox will be designating to make room for players as they get healthy.
Much has changed with the Red Sox in the last year, but the hitting coach, Dave Magadan, remains the same. Brian MacPherson has the details on why this is a good thing for the players, who appear to enjoy Magadan's tutelage:
"When you're a hitting coach at the big-league level, you're not teaching guys how to hit, for the most part," Magadan said. "You're learning what makes that guy a good hitter. If there's something you can maybe add to that to make them even better, yeah, you try and do that. For the most part, the most successful guys - the (Jacoby) Ellsburys, the Pedroias, David Ortiz, Adrian Gonzalez - you've got to know what makes them a good hitter and corral them in those parameters."
Not all hitting coaches share this philosophy. Ask David Ortiz what trying to work with the Twins was like, for some local evidence. One of the newer Red Sox, Mike Aviles, is a fan of Magadan already, too:
"The first thing he asked me was, ‘What do you want to do?' " Aviles said. "I was like, ‘Huh? What do you mean? I thought I had to do what you want to do.' That's what I just thought. It was good that, right from the beginning, I felt like, ‘You know what? This guy is going to treat me like an adult. He's going to talk to me, and we're going to work together. It's not going to be that he's doing his thing and I've got to follow it. It's going to be more of a partnership.' I liked that right from the beginning."
It's not surprising to see Magadan back -- all the Red Sox have done is hit while he's been the hitting coach -- but it's good to see that, like pitching coach Bob McClure, he's not so interested in reinventing hitters as he is making them even better at what they already do. Be sure to read the whole piece, as it gives you some insight into what it's like to work with Magadan, as well as the great hitters Boston employs.
We've been talking about the Red Sox for months now, as they prepared for the season. You talked about the Red Sox among yourselves and back to us. Sean McAdam talked to scouts about what they thought about the team's talent level, Bobby Valentine, the team's weak points, keys to their success, and more.
Not a single one of the five scouts agreed on which player was going to have an improved 2012 campaign, and there was plenty of dissenting opinion as to just what the key to the club's success is. It's always good to see a take from outside the organization, though, especially with such a wide range of answers to the same questions we've been asking all winter and spring.
Grant Brisbee of Baseball Nation previewed the Red Sox, and while he likes them plenty, he also shares many of the same concerns we do. Unlike many who have been previewing the Red Sox, though, Brisbee does a good job of realizing that their entire 2011 season wasn't just September, and that they aren't the only team capable of being great who you can poke holes in.
Just like with the Yankees and Rays, Boston isn't perfect this year. But name me a team that is. I'll wait.