With just a few days until the Red Sox will be tasked with trimming their roster back down to 25 men, I'm going to do my best to predict the Sox 25 men. There are obviously guys who are going to make it and that is probably the case for 22 of the 25 that will eventually make it, but those last three roster spots could be up for grabs.
Catchers- Sandy Leon, Christian Vazquez, Blake Swihart
Infielders- Mitch Moreland, Steve Pearce, Ian Kinsler, Xander Bogaerts, Brock Holt, Rafael Devers
Outfielders- Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley Jr., Mookie Betts, J.D. Martinez (DH)
Starting Pitchers- Chris Sale, David Price, Rick Porcello, Nathan Eovaldi
Relief Pitchers- Craig Kimbrel, Steven Wright, Brandon Workman, Ryan Brasier, Eduardo Rodriguez, Matt Barnes
That leaves 2 spots left on their roster for the ALDS. I know a lot of people will think Cora is going overboard when he brings three catchers along for the postseason, but Swihart has proven to be more than just a catcher. He can play 1st, 3rd, and even some outfield. Not to mention he can come in and pinch run for a Moreland, Pearce, or Martinez in a close game. And you can't forget that Sandy Leon stinks at hitting, so Swihart can be an integral part of a deep playoff run.
Back to the 2 roster spots left though. Is Núñez healthy enough to play in the Division Series? He's been battling a knee injury since last year and an ankle injury sustained at the end of the season. So if it isn't him it has to be Tzu-Wei Lin, who I actually like. He has hit the ball well all September, he can play three infield positions and he can mess around in the outfield too. He's more versatile, he's faster and he runs the bases better than Núñez. So personally I'd love to have Lin, but I believe Cora will wind up putting Núñez on the roster to have another righty bat off the bench.
That takes care of one spot and the position players on the roster, now it's the last bullpen spot up for grabs. It has to be a lefty because Rodriguez is only in the pen to help a starter that couldn't make it deep into a game. So let's eliminate Pomeranz from the conversation right now, because he might be the worst pitcher to ever put on a Red Sox uniform and there have been some BAD ones before him. He stinks and I hate him, and I think I speak for Red Sox Nation when I say his credentials to get into Fenway should be deactivated because I don't need his bad juju rubbing off on anybody on the staff. There are only two guys that should be up for this last spot on the roster, Bobby Poyner and Brian Johnson. While Johnson has been good for the Sox all season and has gotten them through some injuries to the starting rotation, Poyner is a legit relief pitcher. He hasn't been going back and forth all year between the starting rotation and the bullpen like Johnson. Sure Johnson can give you more than one inning, but if you need a lefty to come out of the pen and get Didi out in a big spot, I'd have to say it's Poyner who will be added to the roster.
So there are my 25 guys who will get to be a part of the first postseason battle between thee Sox and Yankees since 2004. Granted it isn't a seven game series like the last one, but these five games are going to be high leverage on every pitch. Yeah I said five games, because this one is going the distance. Buckle up, it's going to be a classic.