Jackie Bradley Jr. is one of many backups ready to jump in the outfield. Image via USA Today.
The good news for the Red Sox—especially after a few injury-riddled seasons—is that their bench will run deep in 2013.
While simple math showed us this before spring training even began, camp has proven that actual talent backs it up. We pray for a healthy year, but if the sky falls once again, the Red Sox' second and third strings look unlikely to disappoint.
Boston has a surplus of players at several positions, ready and eager to jump in if any starters gets hurt or underperform.
If there's a stumble in the starting rotation, a number of players could fill in—Franklin Morales, Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster—just to name a few.
Behind Jarrod Saltalamacchia, the waiting list at catcher is led by newly acquired David Ross, followed by Ryan Lavarnway and impressive prospect Christian Vazquez bringing up the rear.
There's Mike Carp ready to come in for Mike Napoli at first base—especially if his hip becomes an issue—but both also have Lyle Overbay, Daniel Nava and Mark Hamilton nipping at their heels.
Hitting machine Jackie Bradley Jr. shows major league promise, but will have to patiently wait his turn behind Jacoby Ellsbury, new Sox veterans Jonny Gomes and Shane Victorino, and likely backups Ryan Sweeney, Nava and Carp.
The bullpen is overcrowded, containing more names than most can keep track of.
The Red Sox have plenty of backups and backup backups. But what we don't know yet is how all of this will play out: Who will make the 25-man roster, who will hang out in Pawtucket or Portland and who might be used as trade bait.
Those answers might take a few more weeks.