Jacke Bradley Jr. looks like he wil make the final roster after all for the Red Sox. Image via rantsports.com
It's been a long spring, but we're finally closing in on Opening Day. With just a week left before the final 25-man roster is posted, we've got a pretty good idea of what names will be on the list.
Still, there are some holes, especially with a few players—namely David Ortiz and Stephen Drew—starting the season on the disabled list. Here's a look at the final predictions on how camp will wind down.
No surprises here. The Red Sox starting rotation is locked in, barring serious injury in the next week. As assumed all spring training long, the starting five will be:
Jon Lester (LHP)
Clay Buchholz (RHP)
Ryan Dempster (RHP)
Felix Doubront (LHP)
John Lackey (RHP)
The Sox entered spring training with a wealth of options in the bullpen. They've narrowed things down, and the majority of the pen appears locked in.
Joel Hanrahan (RHP)
Andrew Bailey (RHP)
Andrew Miller (LHP)
Koji Uehara (RHP)
Alfredo Aceves (RHP)
Junichi Tazawa (RHP)
With Craig Breslow and Franklin Morales on the DL, there's room for one more reliever, with the main competition between Daniel Bard and Clayton Mortensen.
Given Bard's inconsistency throughout camp, which has followed a terrible 2012 campaign, I'm going with Mortensen.
Mike Napoli (first)
Dustin Pedroia (second)
Will Middlebrooks (third)
Jarrod Saltalamacchia (catcher)
David Ross (catcher)
Pedro Ciriaco (utility)
Stephen Drew looks like he'll start the season on the DL following a concussion, opening up a shot for Jose Iglesias to fill in at shortstop. There's no question he can hold down the fort defensively, and the good news is, his hitting has at the very least improved since last year.
Daniel Nava (with the ability to play first as well)
It's looking better every day that one of the last two roster spots will go to Jackie Bradley Jr. despite Farrell's early spring insistence that it's not his time. He will get (and frankly has earned) his shot at the majors to help fill in while Ortiz is out.
Ellsbury's ankle injury in Sunday's game (per ESPN Boston's Chris Girandola) strengthens his case.
With Bradley in the outfield, guys like Gomes or Nava will be available to step up in the designated hitter position.
The final spot comes down to Ryan Sweeney (outfielder), Mike Carp (first baseman/outfielder) or Lyle Overbay (first baseman). Let's first knock out Overbay, who's been uninspiring this camp.
It's possible that the Red Sox will opt to give the veteran Carp—who's also failed to impress this spring—a shot, but I'm going to place my chips on Sweeney, who's solid on both sides of the plate. Since Sweeney can opt out this week, the Sox won't want to lose him as a strong potential outfielder.