The Boston Red Sox 40-man roster is quite fluid and in his constant movement during the season. This offseason will be one where the action should be volatile.
The Boston Red Sox have not been hesitant about shedding players whose expectations did not meet the expected. The team is still paying for the lengthy contract of Pablo Sandoval. Last season it was Hanley Ramirez cut loose and a month ago Eduardo Nunez. Decisions will certainly be made regarding players on the 40-man roster and here are a few possibilities.
The most significant is Rick Porcello who has done nothing to establish himself as a must-have free agent. Porcello will test the market and will get a few offers for a fraction of his current $21.125 MM contract. The Red Sox could (doubtfully) make a qualifying offer that would be in the vicinity of $19 MM. Expect Porcello to be elsewhere.
Andrew Cashner has a $10 MM option on the table if he manages to accumulate 340 innings combined in 2018-19. Cashner is almost 100 innings short and based on how long he lasts in a game his attaining that option is as remote as Sandy Leon breaking Joe DiMaggio’s 56 games hit streak.
The three financial heavies are David Price, Chris Sale, and Nathan Eovaldi. Eovaldi has question marks on health and Price and Sale on performance. I cannot see any team risking the remaining contract monies due on the trio. Expect all back and it could be sink or swim.
This is not a matter of who should go but who is even worth keeping. Brandon Workman has displayed both numerical and performance consistency, but what remains is dubious. Rookie Darwinzon Hernandez high walk rate is compensated by a high whiff rate. He may be back to the rotation depending on the offseason.
The remaining bullpen pieces have their moments of glory during the season, but inevitably that is counterbalanced by simply being pitching pinatas. What it will eventually come down to is arbitration years and that puts Heath Hembree, Matt Barnes, and Steven Wright on a slippery slope.
The bullpen during the season went in the wrong direction as pitchers were given numerous opportunities and failed. Ryan Brasier the probable closer is now well down on the depth charts and that tells the story of the season. Too many innings and too little consistency from the bullpen.
Steve Pearce and Mitch Moreland both have rings from 2018 and Pearce a WS MVP. Neither pending free agents will return. Marco Hernandez and Sam Travis have made some positive impressions, especially the hard-hitting Hernandez. If Dustin Pedroia packs it in Hernandez could be at second with Michael Chavis at first.
Brock Holt and Jackie Bradley Jr. are both free agents after the 2020 season. Will they be traded? Replacement value on the team or stuffed in the minors is minimal, but the Red Sox could package one or both.
The most tradable is still Mookie Betts who has shown no inclination to resign with the Red Sox. This will be Betts’s last go around with arbitration and the Red Sox may just lower the trade hammer and save $20 MM or so.
This is just a rough-hewn outline as the next six weeks could prove fateful for several players. Will J.D. Martinez opt-out? The fiscal savings could be substantial, but replacement is another issue. And that bullpen! Several are in audition status for 2020. This offseason will be quite active and I fully expect a significant 25-man and 40-man roster shift.