There are still better than three months to go until the beginning of the regular season, but the Red Sox may very well have their 25-man roster figured out after trading Franklin Morales to the Rockies for Jonathan Herrera. Here's how it looks:
David Ortiz (Ostensibly)
Jackie Bradley Jr.
Starting Rotation (5):
There's one obvious missing piece here: a defensive substitute in the outfield. As it stands, if either Shane Victorino or Jackie Bradley misses a game, Daniel Nava is going to have to hop over to right field. That's not good news for the Sox, particularly if it happens in Fenway with its cavernous right field. Nava is a fine player, and has made an art form of playing the Monster, but he's not the guy you want to ask to cover a ton of ground in the outfield.
That, however, seems to be a problem the Red Sox are willing to live with. At least to start the year.
Of the 25 players on the projected roster, 21 spent at least some time with the 2013 team. That doesn't quite give a fair representation of turnover since it includes Jackie Bradley Jr. who had only short stints in the majors, and both the bullpen and lineup are noticeably different from what you might call their standard 2013 versions. But on the whole there's enough retention that the atmosphere around the team should be largely unchanged, which certainly seems like good news given how last year went.
Of course, there are always injuries to be dealt with. It's not hard to envision a scenario where Brandon Workman is in Boston come April, be it in the rotation or the bullpen. Christian Vazquez is the first line of defense at catcher unless the Red Sox don't want to risk an early call-up, in which case Dan Butler is an interesting enough player for a backup in his own right*. Bryce Brentz, unfortunately, is the best the Red Sox have in the outfield, meaning that any lengthy absence from either Victorino or Bradley could spell real trouble. The team will probably be keeping an eye out for a minor league free agent with some range just to make sure they've got some way to deal with a worst-case scenario.
There could always be a surprise trade for Mike Carp, Will Middlebrooks, or one of their starting pitchers. But the rumor mill is largely quiet on those fronts. Chances are these are the 25 men the Red Sox intend to start the year with, for better or worse.
*Though, yes, it might just be more Ryan Lavarnway behind the plate. Not a pleasant thought.