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:
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).