The Red Sox waited until the final possible moment to announce their 25-man roster for the ALDS against the Astros, and it’s mostly as we expected. As I wrote earlier in the week, there were at least 20 locks to make the cut. That left about five spots up for grabs, and they mostly went as expected. There is at least one notable exclusion, and the implications of that exclusion is probably more important than the exclusion itself. Before we get to that, though, here’s a look at the group in its entirety.
As far as the position players go, there is no real surprise. Obviously the main starters made it, along with guys like Eduardo Nuñez and Sandy Leon, who may not be total regulars in this series but will play big roles. The marginal players who made it are Deven Marrero, Brock Holt and Rajai Davis. Marrero figures to serve as a late-game defensive replacement for Rafael Devers, a move that John Farrell had utilized late in the regular season. This could be very important. Davis is there for his speed and will be a key pinch runner late in games. Holt is there for a few reasons. For one, he is a left-handed bat and this bench doesn’t have many of those. Additionally, he can spell Dustin Pedroia if needed, given the veteran’s knee issues, and still leave Marrero as an option to fill in at the hot corner. The consequence of these three making it is that Chris Young has been left off. This makes sense given that the Red Sox won’t be sitting any of Andrew Benintendi, Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley regardless of the handedness of Houston’s starter, and in Hanley Ramirez or Eduardo Nuñez, Boston already has a strong right-handed bat to come off the bench if needed.
The pitchers is also mostly as we expected, with the exception of one move. Robby Scott has been left off the roster in favor of Austin Maddox. This is not completely unforeseen, as the Astros don’t have many lefties in their lineup that call for a LOOGY out of the bullpen. Plus, the Red Sox have David Price to come in late in games from the left side, though he won’t be limited to left-handed opponents.
One thing this probably does indicate, though, is that Eduardo Rodriguez will be coming out of the bullpen. Farrell had already said that Fister won’t pitch in that role, so since he’s on the roster he’s definitely lined up for a start. With Scott out, Rodriguez will almost certainly serve as the second lefty in the bullpen. Given that he has the highest ceiling out of himself, Fister and Rick Porcello and that he’s been better than both over the course of the season, it seems to me that this is a mistake by the Red Sox decision makers. Regardless, this is how they are rolling out the roster. It’s probably a bit worse than Houston’s on paper, but there is plenty of talent here and this is a group that can certainly advance to the ALCS. I’m so ready to get started.