Tom Olmscheid/Associated Press
Will Middlebrooks. Garin Cecchini. Deven Marrero. Henry Owens. Allen Webster. Anthony Ranaudo. Matt Barnes.
With Xander Bogaerts, Brock Holt and Rubby De La Rosa all firmly entrenched in the majors, how will the Red Sox find playing time for all of these players in 2015 and beyond?
This "rumor" stems from questions I get in the comments section all the time, and when you take Boston's roster at face value, it does indeed seem like they face a glut on the left side of the infield and toward the back of the rotation.
But once you factor in prospect attrition, positional versatility and the age-old adage, "you can never have too much pitching," it becomes apparent that the Sox shouldn't feel the need to move any of their talented youngsters next week.
When it comes to the third base/shortstop conundrum, the Sox are perhaps not as strong moving forward as they seem. Bogaerts is struggling now, but few are truly worried about him, and he's already shown the ability to dominate at the MLB level.
Beyond him, though, the Sox may be looking more at quantity than quality.
We've seen more evidence that suggests Middlebrooks is not an everyday player than we've seen suggesting otherwise. Cecchini has solid upside but is playing poorly in Triple-A. Marrero has little upside, even though he's performing quite well in Pawtucket. And while Holt is lighting the world on fire right now, he's probably not going to be a .330 hitter for the rest of his career.
It's probable that at least two of these players will pan out, but it's not like the Red Sox are sitting on three or four All-Star third basemen.
And when it comes to the rotation, we've already seen signs that Barnes may be better off in the bullpen, and there's a non-zero chance that one of Webster or Workman will join him there in due time. Ranaudo and Johnson profile as a back-end starters at best, and only Owens is truly considered to have upside as a No. 2-3 starter.
The Red Sox won't have Jake Peavy heading into next year, and Jon Lester is a free agent. That could leave John Lackey and Clay Buchholz as the only two established starters in Boston in 2015, and given Buchholz's injury history, that means the Sox could use all the MiLB talent they can get, even if Lester is re-signed.
If the perfect deal comes up, I'm fine with the Sox trading in some of their prospect chips for an established major leaguer. But they shouldn't feel the need to solve a logjam that doesn't exist, which is an important distinction to make.