Monday, September 29, 2008

APNDR's Unfounded Playoff Roster Speculation

Hey kids, it's that time of year again -- the time when games suddenly become 4.75 hours long, when NESN breaks out its 5-hour pregame shows, and you start to feel that you have about 5000% too much Joe Buck in your life. It's the MLB playoffs -- catch the fever!

But first, your Boston Red Sox have to actually decide who will be on their 25-man ALDS roster. And there are actually decisions to be made here. Do they carry an extra pitcher, or does the 3-days-off schedule mean that an extra roster player would be a better call? Who should that extra roster player be? Are we totally sure that Eric Gagne is nowhere near the clubhouse?

So forthwith, here are some guesses (uneducated, but done with much gusto) as to who the Sox will carry into their battle with the Angels:

Starting Pitchers -- 5
Josh Beckett
Jon Lester
Daisuke Matsuzaka
Tim Wakefield
Paul Byrd

Here's decision #1 -- does Beckett's mysterious injury mean that the Sox will carry an extra pitcher, and if so, who? My guesses are (a) no -- see below, and (b) they'll nonetheless avoid a decision of whether to drop Wake or Byrd by keeping them both. The fact that both of them can start, and that both of them would probably give you more out of the bullpen than David Aardsma (whom I think definitely pitched his way off the playoff roster with his poor showing against Scranton the Yankees last night), makes the decision that much easier, because keeping the pair means more and better options in case Beckett has to be scratched entirely.

Relief Pitchers -- 5
Jonathan Papelbon
Manny Delcarmen
Justin Masterson
Hideki Okajima
Javier Lopez

With the Angels picking the Wednesday-starting series, these teams will get three days off over the course of a five-game (potentially) series. Given that increased rest, I strongly suspect that Terry Francona will want to keep an extra position player on the roster and carry 10 pitchers into this series. Given that, as noted above, David Aardsma is the odd man out here. So long as Good Manny Delcarmen shows up, and not Bad Manny Who Walks The Bases Full Then Gives Up A 532' HR, this group should be fine. The other odd man out -- Mike Timlin. Although I would not be surprised at all if Timmy somehow winds up on the roster, given Francona's loyalty to his vets.

Infielders -- 6/7
Kevin Youkilis
Alex Cora
Jed Lowrie
Dustin Pedroia
Sean Casey
David Ortiz (DH)
Mike Lowell (???)

I'll admit -- I need more info about how the MLB playoff roster situation works here. The big question mark on the infield is Mike Lowell, who has maybe a 20% chance at best of being available for this series. The question is whether the Sox could leave Lowell off of this ALDS roster while still having the option of activating him for the ALCS if they are able to advance past this round. If so, I think that's what they will do. Of course if it's clear that Lowell needs to be shut down entirely, then the point is moot. If, however, the Sox have to put Lowell on the roster NOW in order to preserve his future availability, their hand may be forced if they feel he can be healthy enough to contribute in a week or two. It's a tough call either way.

Outfielders -- 6
Jason Bay
Jacoby Ellsbury
Coco Crisp
J.D. Drew
Mark Kotsay
Jeff Bailey

Bailey is technically an OF, but he's been used mainly as a 1B by the Sox. That's why he's going to make the playoff roster -- he can cover the lack of Lowell by serving as a credible backup to Casey, allowing Youkilis and Lowrie to be your 3B options. Or, he can fill in in the OF if Drew's lady parts back starts to act up again.

Catchers -- 2?
Jason Varitek

... at least. I wouldn't be surprised if David Ross makes it on as a 3rd catcher, especially if Lowell is scratched from the roster. A big reason to have 3 catchers is Varitek's utter inability to catch Wakefield. If you're going to be using Wake out of the bullpen, it's nice to have the option of bringing Cash in to catch him without losing the ability to PH for the catcher later on. If they decide to go with 2 catchers, then Chris Carter and Jonathan Van Every have shots at being the 25th man, depending on Francona's perceived needs and the vicissitudes of who is eligible under MLB rules.

So there you have it -- one pimp's guess about who will be rosterized for the Angels series. The floor is now open for your comments and thoughts. Coming soon on this channel: SmartyBarrett's ALDS preview!!!


Pepster said...

You can select a player for your roster for the ALCS that was not active for the ALDS, and vice versa.

Pepster said...

Off-topic, but important nonetheless. My latest entry in my blog is about how a local high school football player was shot this weekend for wearing his team colors at a community dance. I am honestly not just advertising for my blog, I just think the fact that this happened needs to get around a bit. An absolutely horrendous, disgraceful unnecessary occurrence, and the fact that some of us are removed from such random violence, I think we need reminding about some of the craziness out there.

Thanks for letting put up my serious note.

By the way, I like the Sox in 4.

Hazel Maes Landing Strip said...


I had no clue you had a blog, you should have TOLD US. We could have linked you.

Pepster said...

I would have, but for a long time me and my peeps were hit or miss on posting. Trying to get into a good regular rhythm. Lately we have just been posting general stuff, and not truly funny things, or good stories.