As we move closer and closer to Opening Day, we are getting a clearer picture of what the active roster is going to look like to open the season, and also a clearer picture of how long the team will be without the face of their pitching staff in Chris Sale. The Red Sox, following their penultimate spring game on Monday, announced a series of roster moves which included moving Sale to the 60-day injured list. The full set of moves is below.
- Chris Sale to the 60-day IL.
- Tyler Danish added to the active roster.
- John Schreiber, Franchy Cordero, and Rob Refsnyder reassigned to Triple-A Worcester.
- Jay Groome and Brayan Bello were transferred from Triple-A Worcester to Double-A Portland.
The big news here, of course, is the Sale injury. Given the roster crunch Boston has been experiencing of late, it has been something of an open question as to how optimistic the team was about Sale’s rib injury, suffered during the lockout, and whether or not he’d get the 60-man designation. On the one hand, it does of course open up a spot on the 40-man without having to expose anyone to waivers. Of course, it is much more bad news because it means that Sale will now be out until June at the earliest. Given all of the questions the Red Sox have on their pitching staff, that is no small thing.
The move was made in order to create 40-man room for Danish, who will officially be part of the Opening Day roster. The righty was a minor-league signing from earlier in the winter, and he should serve as a long man out of the bullpen. As noted here many times, teams are going to need a lot of innings following this shortened spring. Danish tossed six innings this spring, allowing one run on four hits and two walks with five strikeouts. In his career, he has pitched 13 total innings across short stints in 2016, 2017, and 2018, and the now-27-year-old has pitched to a 4.85 ERA with five strikeouts and four walks. Last season he threw 60 1⁄3 innings for the Angels Triple-A affiliate finishing with a 4.33 ERA and a 4.45 FIP.
Between the Danish news and the fact that Schreiber is being optioned, it seems that the bullpen is set. We mentioned Kutter Crawford making the cut earlier today, and with Danish in tow and Schreiber being optioned that leaves Phillips Valdez as most likely getting the final spot. Of course, more moves can be made, including with waiver claims, but that is the most likely alignment.
On the position player side of the coin, all signs are pointing to Travis Shaw getting a spot, which will mean another 40-man move must be made. The recently claimed Ralph Garza Jr. would be the most likely candidate to be designated for assignment to create room there. That leaves one bench spot along with Kevin Plawecki and Christian Arroyo. Again, moves from outside the organization are certainly possible, but Jonathan Araúz would appear to be the favorite to get that spot now with Franchy Cordero being optioned. It’s worth noting that both Cordero and Schreiber would have needed a counter move to make room on the 40-man.
And finally, with regards to Groome and Bello, that’s largely just a paper move. Both were expected to start the season at Double-A and that is exactly where they’ll be. As two of the top prospects in the organization, and both being on the 40-man roster already, the hope is presumably to get them up to Triple-A in the middle of the season as long as their performance merits the performance.