With the Red Sox’ playoff chances dwindling every day, it’s time to consider some changes.
It’s certainly a situation that Alex Cora and the Red Sox didn’t intend on addressing in 2019. As the defending World Series champions, expectations were even higher for a shot at a repeat performance; however the club has been stuck in a state of mediocrity since Opening Day. With a few weeks remaining, the Sox playoffs odds are at less than 0.1% according to Baseball Reference. Even without a shot at the postseason, Cora’s club can turn the page to next season.
Much has been made about the lack of Major League ready depth within the Red Sox organization, but there are a few players that should get a chance to prove their worth. Bobby Dalbec, Tanner Houck, and C.J. Chatham are all players that should be given an opportunity within the coming weeks. The only caveat is that none of the aforementioned players are on the 40 man roster.
There are tweaks needed to the overall roster in this case, which will be a bit odd with the recent firing of Dave Dombrowski; however the resolution shouldn’t be too difficult. At the moment, the Red Sox currently are rostering a few players that are considered “journeyman” and could easily be removed from the active roster. Ryan Weber, Josh Smith, Jhoulys Chacin, and Chris Owings are all relatively low-risk options to oust from the roster and create space for prospects.
At this time, they shouldn’t be merely called up for a cup of coffee. Let them play, and see how they fare in traditional roles. Alex Cora could very easily shut down an oft-injured Nathan Eovaldi this season and remove Rick Porcello or Brian Johnson from the rotation to make room for new blood. Retroactively, Mike Shawaryn and Tanner Houck should be slotted in to see if the Red Sox could internally fill holes in the existing starting rotation.
Bobby Dalbec has a Major League ready bat and could very well fill the DH role next season if J.D. Martinez opts out of his existing deal. The Red Sox would be wise to give him a chance to see big league pitching throughout the last few weeks of the season, while Chatham would be rewarded for a great season in the minors. Yes, the fluctuation of the 40 man roster doesn’t need to be done now, but it’s very likely that Dalbec and Houck will be on it next season anyhow.
If the Sox were to get in a save situation, Darwinzon Hernandez should get a chance to close out the game. He’s flashed elite potential in the bullpen and could very well develop into the closer of the future, if given an opportunity. The postseason is largely out of reach for the Boston Red Sox, but the club should not waste an opportunity to evaluate prospects well before Spring Training next season.