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Red Sox Notes: The Opening Day roster is set, Bryce Brentz sticks around

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It’s not official, but barring anything crazy we have the Opening Day roster.

MLB: Spring Training-Houston Astros at Boston Red Sox Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
  • We have a couple pieces of news for you this Saturday morning. The first is that the roster is essentially set. The Red Sox haven’t made anything official yet — they have until Sunday morning to do that — but the following players are going to make the Opening Day roster.

Catchers

Christian Vazquez, Sandy Leon

Infielders

Mitch Moreland, Dustin Pedroia, Xander Bogaerts, Pablo Sandoval, Hanley Ramirez, Marco Hernandez, Brock Holt

Outfielders

Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley, Mookie Betts, Chris Young

Starting Pitchers

Rick Porcello, Chris Sale, Eduardo Rodriguez, Steven Wright

Relievers

Craig Kimbrel, Joe Kelly, Heath Hembree, Robbie Ross, Matt Barnes, Fernando Abad, Robby Scott, Ben Taylor

There is one major surprise on this roster, and that is Ben Taylor making it. CSN New England’s Evan Drellich had the news of the righty making the roster first. In all likelihood, he won’t be on the roster for very long. Drew Pomeranz is on the disabled list for 10 days, and he’s eligible to come off on April 9. If he can’t come back on that day, the Red Sox will still need another starting pitcher if they want to avoid using one of their pitchers on short rest, which they certainly will.

Still, this is a big deal for Taylor, of course. He has a chance to make a good first impression against real major-league talent. That’s pretty good for a guy who spent 2016 split between Salem and Portland. Coming off a spring in which he tossed 13 innings with a 3.46 ERA and a 19/3 K/BB ratio, he clearly made a solid impression on the coaching staff.

On the other hand, it also says something about the lack of exciting relief depth. Taylor looked good this spring, but the stuff doesn’t really get the buzz going. He can get his fastball to the high-90’s at times, but he’ll likely sit more in the mid-90’s with decent command. And that’s his best pitch. He also throws a slider and changeup, but neither are anything to write home about. Still, he had a good spring and now he’ll have about a week to show that he wasn’t just beating up on weak competition. If Taylor can do that, he’ll be called up again when they need another reliever.

  • Also announced yesterday was that Bryce Brentz was outrighted off the 40-man roster and exposed to waivers. This apparently happened a few days ago, because the outfielder cleared waivers and was placed on Pawtucket’s roster.

This is a bit surprising to me. We all knew he’d be exposed to waivers since he was out of minor-league options and certainly wasn’t going to make the Opening Day roster without a couple of injuries. Still, for all of the flaws in his game, I figured someone would take a chance on that power. Apparently, no one had room to try, though. For now, Brentz returns to Pawtucket to serve as more outfield depth. Given the apparent concerns for a right-handed first baseman, perhaps they’ll give him a little bit of work at that position as well. That’s purely speculation, though, as they haven’t given any indication that’s the plan. If they did, it would take field time away from Sam Travis, which probably isn’t ideal. Either way, the outfield depth looks a little better than we were expecting it to.