The Red Sox are not getting their season underway here on Thursday in the Bronx against the Yankees as was originally scheduled, as rain got in the way and the game was pushed back to Friday afternoon. But they still had to make their roster official by noon, and there was a little bit of a surprise in there, even if it was mostly set before the deadline anyway. First off, here’s how the roster shakes out in full.
Catchers (2): Christian Vázquez, Kevin Plawecki
Infielders (7): Bobby Dalbec, Trevor Story, Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers, Travis Shaw, Christian Arroyo, Jonathan Araúz
Outfielders (4): Alex Verdugo, Enrique Hernández, Jackie Bradley Jr., J.D. Martinez
Pitchers (15): Nathan Eovaldi, Nick Pivetta, Tanner Houck, Michael Wacha, Rich Hill, Garrett Whitlock, Matt Barnes, Jake Diekman, Matt Strahm, Hansel Robles, Hirokazu Sawamura, Ryan Brasier, Phillips Valdez, Austin Davis, Kutter Crawford
So as we said in the link above, a lot of this is not a surprise. However, there were two 40-man spots that needed to be created for Shaw and Robles, who had signed minor-league contracts this winter. Ralph Garza Jr., who was recently claimed and widely expected to lose his 40-man spot when one of these players was added, was indeed designated for assignment. But the other DFA was Eduard Bazardo, which comes as a fairly significant surprise. The righty was viewed as one of the team’s top relief prospects, and someone who was ready to contribute this season.
However, he only pitched once this spring training. Considering I would have had, at minimum, players like Davis, Valdez, Araúz, and Tyler Danish ahead of him on the list of players to be designated for assignment, and his lack of activity this spring, something must be going on here. We’ll keep our eyes and ears peeled for the story here.
As far as the players actually on the roster, a few things stand out. One is that Robles will be there from the jump despite getting an extremely late start to an already-shortened camp due to visa issues. I’m not even one of the bigger Robles guys out there, but the righty immediately jumps into the late-inning picture in a bullpen riddled with questions, and it’s well within the realm of possibility that he ends up as the team’s top late-inning arm sooner than later.
I’d also point to the bench, which is very much lacking in outfield depth. All four of the projected bench players — Arroyo, Plawecki, Shaw, and Araúz — are nominally an infielder or a catcher. That said, Arroyo is listed as an infielder/outfielder officially, and had been getting time out on the grass in spring. He and Martinez, who of course has outfield experience but is better utilized as a DH, will serve as the team’s outfield depth.
This roster will, of course, frequently change as the season rolls along, but as we get set to kick this season off on Friday, here’s how things will stand.
Ed. Note: A previous version of this story indicated Bazardo did not throw this spring. It has been updated to reflect that he did make one appearance.