Looking At The 2020 Red Sox Roster

We are closing in on Opening Day for Major League Baseball. The 2020 Red Sox roster will look different this season, mainly because of the protocols that are in place for COVID-19. Major League teams will be allowed to carry 30 players on the active roster, while having other players at an alternative site. For the Red Sox, that alternative site will be McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket, RI. Here, players will be waiting for the call up to Boston. At McCoy, players will be able to workout and practice so that they will be ready in case they have to go to Boston.

Like 2020, this season will be different for the Red Sox. The 2020 Red Sox roster will startred sox roster 2020 off with 30 players, then go down to 28, and end with 26 after a month. While there won’t be an All-Star Game, and we won’t get a chance to see certain teams like the Astros or the Dodgers, there will be a trade deadline at the end of August. The fun begins on Friday, so let’s see what the Red Sox will be bringing to the table.

Breaking Down The 2020 Red Sox Roster

At the catcher’s position, odds are the Red Sox will have Christian Vazquez, Jonathan Lucroy and Kevin Plawecki on the roster. The Red Sox brought in Lucroy and Plawecki this past offseason on one year deals, following the trade of Sandy Leon. They will be fighting for the prime backup catcher position once the rosters go back down to 26, unless Ron Roenicke plans to keep all three catchers.

The infield will have many familiar faces in it. Mitch Moreland will be at first base, Xander Bogaerts at short stop, and Rafael Devers at third base. Michael Chavis will be on the roster, and most likely be platooning with Moreland at first. The Red Sox brought in Jose Pereza this past offseason to play second base. Tzu-Wei Lin and Jonathan Arauz will also be key utility infielders for Boston.

The Red Sox outfield has a few new faces in it. Joining Andrew Benintendi and Jackie Bradley Jr are Alex Verdugo and Kevin Pillar. Red Sox fans will remember Pillar, who played for the Toronto Blue Jays and the San Francisco Giants. Verdugo, who came to Boston in the Mookie Betts and David Price trade, will be looking to make a name for himself in the outfield.

The Red Sox have their designated hitter in slugger JD Martinez. After signing a five-year deal prior to the 2018 season, Martinez has decided to stay in a Red Sox uniform for the 2020 season, despite the opt out option in his contract.

The Starting Rotation and Bullpen

Right now going into the 2020 season, the Red Sox have Nathan Eovaldi, Martin Perez, Ryan Weber and Brian Johnson in their starting rotation. Eduardo Rodriguez will be joining the rotation at some point during the season, but there isn’t an exact timetable on that yet. Rodriguez didn’t report to camp until recently due to recovering from COVID-19. The Red Sox brought in Collin McHugh in March to fill in for a rotation spot, but he opted out of the 2020 season due to an arm injury. McHugh, who had elbow issues entering the season, didn’t think he would be ready for the 2020 season.

The Red Sox bullpen will look similar to last season, with a few new faces in the mix. Closer Brandon Workman is back for his role with the Red Sox. So will Matt Barnes, Ryan Braiser, Marcus Walden, and Colten Brewer. Newcomers Josh Osich, Jeffrey Springs, Chris Mazza, Austin Brice and Matt Hall will be looking to make a name for themselves in Boston this season.

The Week Ahead

The Red Sox play two exhibition games starting Tuesday night against the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park. Ryan Weber will get the ball for Boston, and Nate Pearson will get the ball for Toronto. Both games will be at 7:30pm.

The Red Sox will have an off day on Thursday, before welcoming the Baltimore Orioles to Fenway Park for Opening Day. Ron Roenicke announced recently that Nathan Eovaldi will be the Opening Day starter for Boston, since Eduardo Rodriguez is still getting ready for the season following a delayed start. John Means will be Baltimore’s Opening Day starter this season.

There Will Be Baseball in 2020

Baseball fans rejoice, there will be baseball in 2020! After about three months of no baseball, the MLB and the MLBPA have reached an agreement to play in 2020. I know, I didn’t think this day would come, but here we are. Many players are making their way to their respective cities right now in anticipation of the season. July 1st is the official date to start training camp, and from there, we have Opening Day at the end of July. It’s been a crazy year so far, so let the games begin – On July 23rd.

The bad news for fans, however, is that they will not be in the stands at any of the Majorbaseball in 2020 League ballparks in 2020. Yes, that includes Fenway Park. For fans who were looking forward to seeing the Red Sox play at Fenway or at an away game, you’re going to have to either watch it on NESN, or listen to the radio. Due to COVID-19, MLB and other professional sports aren’t allowing spectators at games until further notice.

Baseball in 2020

It’s hard to believe that baseball in 2020 is going to happen, but it is. After what seemed to be a lifetime of negotiations, there will be a season. MLB announced this week that Opening Day will be on July 23rd, with training camps starting July 1st. To make things easy for teams, MLB is setting up the schedule geographically. For the Red Sox, they will be playing against both the American League East, and the National League East. The same will go for teams in the Central Divisions and in the Western Divisions.

MLB proposed this idea to limit team travel in hopes that the season will be completed without interruptions. Teams will start off with thirty players, then go down to 28 players after fifteen days. Two weeks later, teams will be set at their normal roster number, 26. Baseball in 2020 will not have an All Star game, sorry Los Angeles. However, the trade deadline will be on August 31st. It will be interesting to see how the season plays out, especially with teams playing within their own divisions, and a designated hitter in both the National and American Leagues.

How Will The Red Sox Do in 2020

That’s the big question many Red Sox fans are asking. After a crazy offseason, the Red Sox have a lot to prove to their fan base. There will be some new faces coming to town, like pitcher Martin Perez and outfielder Kevin Pillar. There will also be some familiar faces coming back to town, like Mitch Moreland, who resigned with the Red Sox this past offseason.

General Manager Chaim Bloom stated that both Alex Verdugo and Collin McHugh are expected to play this season. Verdugo, who was part of the Mookie Betts trade, is recovering from a stress fracture in his back. McHugh, who the Red Sox signed as a free agent in March, is recovering from a flexor tendon strain that he sustained in 2019.

As for Chris Sale, he will not be pitching this season. Shortly after the season was halted to to COVID-19, it was announced that Sale was getting Tommy John surgery, and will not be pitching again until at least 2021. Lucky for the Red Sox, they have some pitchers who are looking to make a name for themselves in Boston, and a few who are looking to improve upon their 2019 season.

Eduardo Rodriguez, who went 19-6 with a 3.81 ERA in 2019, is looking to improve in 2020. Manager Ron Roenicke has yet to name his Opening Day starter, but odds are that Rodriguez will get the call. Catchers Kevin Plawecki and Jonathan Lucroy, who came to Boston via free agency, will be competing for the backup role at catcher behind Christian Vazquez. Both veteran catchers signed one year deals with the Red Sox this past offseason.

Around The MLB

A lot has happened since Spring Training was stopped due to COVID-19. Many fans didn’t think that baseball in 2020 would happen. However, here we are. Fans are used to a 162 game season, however, due to negotiations, the fans, players, and MLB are at a 60 game season instead. A lot can happen in 60 games. For the Red Sox, they were 31-29 in their first 60 games in 2019. In order to get to the postseason this year, they’re going to have to do way better than that.

Both the American League East and the National League East will be a challenge for the Red Sox. Not only are they facing their usual rivals like the Yankees, but the’re facing the 2019 World Series Champion Washington Nationals. Going into the 2019 season, the Nationals were not the favorite to win the World Series. Their first 60 games had them at a record of 27-33. They finished with a 93-69 record, and were second in their division.

Each team, and each division is going to have their set of struggles and triumphs this season. Each team in each division is going to have their ups and downs. For some, it’s getting used to the universal designated hitter rule, while for others, it’s figuring out the best lineup to have for each game. While fans won’t have to worry about 10pm games, many will wonder how this season will affect the 2021 season and beyond. Only time can tell that. For now, we have baseball in 2020, which is pretty remarkable.

Red Sox sign Outfielder Kevin Pillar

The Boston Red Sox recently signed outfielder Kevin Pillar to a one-year, $4.25 million deal. This Pillar signing comes following the loss of Red Sox superstar, Mookie Betts, in a blockbuster deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

While this acquisition definitely helps lessen the damage resulting from the Dodgers trade, it does cause a problem in the outfield.Kevin Pillar
In the Betts trade, the Red Sox acquired outfielder Alex Verdugo, who had a very impressive rookie campaign with the Dodgers. This deal now leaves the Red Sox with five outfielders. (Martinez, Benintendi, Bradley, Pillar, Verdugo) Assuming Martinez is the designated hitter, where does that leave everyone else?

Managing Playing Time

Last season, Kevin Pillar had arguably his best offensive year, hitting .259 with 21 home runs. Where Pillar really shines, however, is defensively. He has been a finalist for Gold Glove in center field every year he has played in the majors. His defensive ability is arguably at the same caliber of Jackie Bradley Jr. For that reason, the Red Sox can balance playing time in center between the two. Pillar can start on days a left-handed pitcher is starting against them, and Bradley can start against right-handed pitchers. This same scenario could work with Verdugo instead of Bradley, as long a Pillar is comfortable in Fenway’s right field. Pillar is also a step above Bradley offensively, which makes him a good option to use as a pinch-hitter. However, I believe that, while this option is a good one, making a trade to free-up room for Pillar to play full time is a better option.

Trading Bradley now that we have Kevin Pillar

Trade rumors involving Jackie Bradley Jr. have been circulating this off-season. I believe that now, more than ever, Jackie Bradley Jr. should be traded. Bradley is still young, has loads of talent, and would be a good piece for any team that is looking to make a playoff push this season and needs help defensively. This move would create room for Pillar, who I believe is slightly better all-around than Bradley to become a full-time player. Verdugo would also become a full-time player, which is crucial for him in this stage of his career, as he is likely yet to reach his full potential in the big leagues. Not only that, but the Sox can finally try to get some decent pitching in return for Bradley. After getting nothing in terms of pitching in the Betts deal, it is crucial that the Sox pick-up at least one or two decent arms to strengthen our subpar pitching staff.

The signing of Kevin Pillar is something that Red Sox fans should be happy about during these dark days without Mookie Betts. However, if the organization doesn’t manage the outfield situation correctly, the team will not improve as much as it should.

The Joe Kelly Experiment Has To End

The Joe Kelly Experiment has to end, and it has to end now. In Kelly’s first start of 2016 he went 3.3 innings while giving up 7 hits, 7 runs (all earned), issued 3 walks, struck out 4, and gave up a monster grand slam to the 2015 MVP, Josh Donaldson. Not to mention almost beheading Kevin Pillar with a 97 mph fastball that luckily only hit the brim of his batting helmet, which Pillar was then able to bounce back up after being knocked to the ground.

Control issues have been hampering him since arriving in Boston. For a guy who can hit triple digits with his fastball well, let’s just say it doesn’t end well. Joe Kelly ExperimentSo it begs the question, why is he still in the rotation? Why is Farrell so intrigued to keep working on what I believe is a failed project. After spending some time down in Triple A last year, Kelly came back up to Boston and showed signs of major improvement. 5-0 with a 1.69 ERA. But it took a trip down to the minors for him to “fix” whatever issues he was having and now we’re to believe he’s figured it all out? Nope, not buying that one bit.

The fact of the matter is this, the 2016 Red Sox pitching rotation is already looking like the teams biggest downfall. Had it not been for some timely offense and relatively strong bullpen in the most recent game, who knows what the outcome would’ve been. But I do know this—and I hope Farrell finally grows a pair and see’s—Joe Kelly should not be in this rotation whatsoever.

If you want to throw him in the bullpen, great! I’m all for it. The more power arms there the better. But if you’re going to keep him in the rotation expect similar results that we not only saw in the last game, but that we’ve seen since he’s arrived in Boston.

They say in baseball a change of scenery is sometimes all that is needed for a player. Well, I think it’s finally getting to that point for Joe Kelly and I hope it happens sooner rather than later because the Joe Kelly Experiment has finally run its course.