Red Sox roster and schedule
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Boston Red Sox roster and schedule for 2020 season

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The 2020 MLB season is now a 60-game dash, starting on July 23 and ending, hopefully, with a full-size postseason in October. Between now and the start of the season, we’ll be giving quick capsule previews of each team, reminding you of where things stood back in Spring Training and where they stand now as we embark on what is sure to be the strangest season in baseball history. Next up: The Boston Red Sox roster and schedule:

RED SOX ROSTER (projected) 

When the season opens on July 23-24, teams can sport rosters of up to 30 players, with a minimum of 25. Two weeks later, rosters must be reduced to 28 and then, two weeks after that, they must be reduced to 26. Teams will be permitted to add a 27th player for doubleheaders.

In light of that, there is a great degree of latitude for which specific players will break summer camp. For now, though, here are who we expect to be on the Red Sox roster to begin the season:

Catchers

Christian Vázquez
Kevin Plawecki
Jonathan Lucroy.

Infielders:

Xander Bogaerts
Rafael Devers
Mitch Moreland
José Peraza
Michael Chavis
Jonathan Araúz
Tzu-Wei Lin.

Outfielders

Andrew Benintendi
Jackie Bradley Jr.
Alex Verdugo
Kevin Pillar
J.D. Martinez.

Starters

Nathan Eovaldi
Martín Pérez
Ryan Weber
Brian Johnson

Relievers

Brandon Workman
Chris Mazza
Matt Hall
Matt Barnes
Marcus Walden
Colten Brewer
Austin Brice
Heath Hembree
Josh Osich
Jeffrey Springs
Ryan Brasier.


BREAKDOWN:

Given the massive upheaval of the past several months you’ll be forgiven if you forgot just how thoroughly different the Red Sox are now than they were at the end of last season. Mookie Betts and David Price have been traded to the Dodgers. Rick Porcello signed with the Mets. Chris Sale has been shelved for Tommy John Surgery. The Red Sox, despite being one of the richest franchises in all of professional sports, decided that getting under the Competitive Balance Tax threshold was more important than fielding the best team they possibly can, so here they are.

The offense should still be strong — Andrew Benintendi, Xander Bogaerts, J.D. Martinez, Rafael Devers and a solid supporting cast will keep them more than respectable at the plate — but the pitching is in disarray. And that’s before putative ace Eduardo Rodríguez’s positive COVID-19 test keeping him away from camp and almost certainly delaying the beginning of his season. He’ll likely be back eventually but for now Eovaldi will be the ace. He was supposed to be the team’s third or fourth starter at best. So, yeah. Last night we learned that the Sox are nearing an agreement with former Tigers pitcher Zack Godley. It’s unclear where he’ll fit in all of this but he could be another potential starting arm. God knows they could use one.

Will the bullpen save them? Hard to see how. It was not, by any stretch of the imagination, a team strength last year apart from some good work by Brandon Workman. He’ll be back and, at some point, Colin McHugh should be around to contribute, for now the Sox seem content to hope that the guys who didn’t do great last year turn it around this year. That can work with bullpens — relief arms have a funny way of turning things around or cratering pretty quickly — but it’s not like you can be super confident in this crew.

Overall: a lot of offense. A lot of runs allowed. In a very tough AL East and with interleague games against a couple of tough NL East lineups, it could be a long short year for the Red Sox.

 

RED SOX SCHEDULE:

Every team will play 60 games. Teams will be playing 40 games against their own division rivals and 20 interleague games against the corresponding geographic division from the other league. Six of the 20 interleague games will be “rivalry” games.

Red Sox home stands will be July 24-28 (Orioles, Mets), August 7-13 (Blue Jays, Rays), August 18-19 (Phillies), August 28-September 6 (Nationals, Braves, Blue Jays), and September 18-24 (Yankees, Orioles).

The entire Red Sox roster and schedule can be seen here.

Angels’ Andrelton Simmons opts out of final 5 games

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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Shortstop Andrelton Simmons has opted out of the remainder of the Los Angeles Angels’ season.

The Angels announced the four-time Gold Glove-winning shortstop’s decision Tuesday before they faced the San Diego Padres.

Los Angeles (24-31) is still technically in the playoff race with five games left in the regular season, and Simmons clearly caught the Angels by surprise, although the club said it respected his decision.

The 31-year-old Simmons, who can be a free agent this winter, is finishing his fifth year with the Angels. After spraining his ankle in late July and missing 22 games, Simmons is currently batting .297 with 10 RBIs while playing his usual stellar defense, albeit with four errors in 30 games.

“At this time, I feel this is the best decision for me and my family,” Simmons said in a statement. “We don’t know what the future holds, but we would like to sincerely thank the Angels organization and Angels fans for welcoming and making us feel at home.”

Manager Joe Maddon acknowledged he was caught by surprise when general manager Billy Eppler told him about Simmons’ decision Monday night after Simmons went 1 for 4 with an RBI single in the Angels’ home finale. Maddon texted Simmons, but hadn’t heard back by Tuesday afternoon.

“I’ve really enjoyed this guy a lot,” Maddon said. “I’m a big fan. This guy is a good baseball player, and I’ve enjoyed the conversations, too. It’s just unfortunate. He’s really a big part of what we’re doing right now.”

Simmons is a favorite of Angels fans for his defensive wizardry, and owner Arte Moreno has described Simmons as perhaps his favorite player to watch on the roster. Simmons has batted .281 with 36 homers and 281 RBIs during his five seasons with Los Angeles, and he won the Gold Glove in 2017 and 2018.

“He’s a thinking kind of a player, and I’ve enjoyed him a lot,” Maddon said.

Simmons will be a free agent this winter, and the Angels have an obvious replacement for him in David Fletcher, who has a .374 on-base percentage while regularly hitting leadoff for the Angels during his breakout major league season. Fletcher has been playing second base since Simmons’ return from injury.

But the Angels haven’t publicly closed the door on Simmons’ return, and he could be given a qualifying offer. Maddon has repeatedly said he would like Simmons to return in 2021 if possible.

The Angels haven’t had a winning season during Simmons’ five years in Anaheim, although Simmons said last week he wasn’t discouraged by the lack of team success. Simmons played his first four major league seasons in Atlanta, and he hasn’t appeared in the postseason since 2013.

Simmons also said he hadn’t been involved in any recent contract talks with the Angels, but he had enjoyed playing for the club. When asked if he wanted to return to the Halos, Simmons said he would have to “plead the fifth.”