Boston Red Sox Roster Battle Heats Up With Roster Cuts Coming
The Boston Red Sox start their 2017 campaign two weeks from Monday, and with no major roster battles occurring there is still some debate on who will make the Opening Day roster and who will not. On Thursday prior to their Spring Training matchup with the Pittsburgh Pirates Red Sox manager John Farrell talked in-depth about the teams roster and where his head is at when making decisions in regards to roster cuts.
A few of the positions that are up for grabs are apparently still undecided and Farrell made sure to reiterate this point to the media present at Jet Blue Park.
“Where is our left-handed relief going to shake out as, and how does our bench and the third-base combination thereof play out? There’s been nothing determined,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “The same situations exist — left-handed relief, the bench and third-base situation, who’s going to be in that tandem behind the plate. We’re starting to get a little more information on the rotation, just by virtue of the physical ailment to David Price, to who’s pitching currently.”
That lefty reliever spot would seem to be the one legitimate unknown, with Robby Scott, and Edgar Olmos who are both making a strong case for Farrell to go with them over the veteran Fernando Abad who joined the team last season after the Red Sox traded with the Minnesota Twins to land him.
Abad for better or worse decided to play in the World Baseball Classic for his home county of the Dominican Republic instead of remaining in camp to battle for his uncertain roster spot.
Abad has made two appearances for the Dominican Republic in the WBC, giving up two hits in 1 1/3 innings, Scott has thrown in six innings, not allowing a run over six innings. Scott does, however, have options allowing the Red Sox to send him back and forth from AAA-Pawtucket while Abad does not have that option.
The Red Sox are clearly still interested in Abad as they passed the deadline to cut the lefty and only be on the books for 1/6th of his salary. The next checkpoint will come March 29 at 2 p.m., with the Sox being on the hook for 1/4 of Abad’s $2 million deal if he is released. After that, the team will be forced to pay the reliever the whole ball of wax.
The one player who could sneak past Scott and Abad is Olmos who is currently not on the 40-man roster and is on a minor-league contract.
The 26-year-old lefty has struck out 11 in 7 2/3 innings thus far this spring and there could be a real potential of him breaking out this season for Boston. One of the obstacle Olmos currently faces is a hamstring injury which caused him to get pulled out of a game on Monday.
“Edgar Olmos is throwing the ball very well,” Farrell said of the southpaw, who has pitched in 11 big league games. “One of the reasons we pursued him is the curveball. We feel like it’s a pitch that can have consistent success at the big league level. He’s starting to build some arm strength. We’re starting to see more power to his fastball to create greater separation between the two pitches. He’ll get on the mound hopefully tomorrow to hopefully throw long toss out to 120 feet today, so we’ll anticipate him getting back on the mound. The reason he came out of the game the other day was short-lived. He’s been a guy who has impressed so far.”