Michael Dwyer/Associated Press
Outfielder Shane Victorino's 2014 campaign has been marked by a slew of DL stints.
There are a few guys from the Red Sox's 2014 roster that should be wondering what the future holds for them next season. Lackluster or injury-plagued seasons may have thwarted their chances to have a legitimate impact for the team this year, so who knows what the implications may be entering 2015.
Unlike the other players on this slideshow, these players are relatively safe from losing a job next season. Let us evaluate who and why.
Shane Victorino, Right Field
30 games. That's all Red Sox outfielder Shane Victorino has been a part of this season.
In what has been almost a lost year for the 33-year-old veteran, Victorino has posted a .268 batting average and .685 OPS in 123 at-bats. Unfortunately, the 2014 season will best be remembered for the multitude of stints on the disabled list over the course of the year.
His season came to a complete end on July 31, when back surgery forced him out for the rest of the year.
Victorino's injury problems were an issue for much of the season. The Red Sox's outfield was thin and needed help. Following the multitude of deals on the July 31 trade deadline, Boston's outfield suddenly found itself crowded. Additions like Allen Craig and Yoenis Cespedes fueled the competition.
Add these guys to young prospects like Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts—not forgetting players like Daniel Nava and Brock Holt—and one has to question exactly how Victorino fits in next season.
If the discussion was based on injuries alone, Victorino would be in jeopardy for a 2015 job. But 2014 has marked the only season in his career marred by so many injuries. Granted he is a year older, but the track record is still mostly positive in this regard.
Additionally, the Red Sox are short when it comes to prospects in the corner outfield positions. If there were a number of promising developmental players in the Red Sox's farm system, Victorino's future would appear less certain.
Perhaps the biggest reason behind why Victorino is safe next season is his contract—he is signed on a three-year, $39 million deal that expires after the 2015 season.
Victorino is scheduled to make $13 million next season—a lot of money to move if the Red Sox plan to trade him during the offseason. They still could, but eating a sizable chunk of that would be likely. The amount due to him also should guarantee a starting spot in the outfield if he remains healthy.
Jackie Bradley Jr., Center Field
So hindsight may have proven many doubters correct: The Red Sox's prospective outfielder Bradley probably is not quite ready to handle major league pitching.
Over 338 at-bats, Bradley is batting a mere .213 with an OPS of .576. Had Boston's outfield been deeper this season, Bradley likely would have spent more time in Triple-A instead of at the major league level.
But necessity dictated that Bradley stayed. Even after the Red Sox's deadline deals, Bradley is still cemented as the team's starting center fielder, per CBS Sports.
Now there is promising prospect Mookie Betts waiting in the fold, but the team is likely waiting on his development instead of inserting him into a platoon role.
One could wonder if the Red Sox are close to giving up on Bradley. Sure, his offensive numbers have fallen far short of expectations, which are a certain setback for the 24-year-old.
Yet Boston would be wise to hold onto Bradley for at least one more season. Defensively, he is sure-handed, and teams always covet a defensive-minded outfielder on the roster.
Bradley should not be going anywhere during the offseason barring some huge trade which, of course, can always happen. Another season should provide the necessary indication as to how Bradley's eventual development plays out.