With the news that Josh Beckett has been pushed back to Game 3 of the ALDS, perhaps longer, this changes the complexion of the series. No longer is The October Ace a definite to take the hill against the Angels, but the Red Sox will have to protect themselves and carry an additional pitcher, making 11 (especially with Dice-K questionable to go deep into the game).
Jon Lester will get the ball in Game 1, then Dice-K will follow. If Beckett can’t go in Game 3, I think the ball will head to Wakefield. Either way, Wakefield will definitely make the roster. Other certainties are Jonathan Papelbon, Hideki Okajima, Manny Delcarmen, Justin Masterson, Javier Lopez and Paul Byrd. That makes 10. Candidates for 11 include David Aardsma, Devern Hansack, David Pauley, Chris Smith and Mike Timlin.
Could the Red Sox bypass the 11th pitcher and go with 14 position players? Absolutely. But should they? I don’t think they should, so who should they take?
My vote is Hansack. He’s looked impressive in some outings and can go multiple innings. Aardsma lost any shot he had last night when he couldn’t nail down the save. Smith, Pauley and Timlin are gasoline this year.
On the position player side, you have Jason Varitek and Kevin Cash. Kevin Youkilis, Sean Casey, Dustin Pedroia, Jed Lowrie, Alex Cora, Mike Lowell, Jason Bay, Jacoby Ellsbury, Coco Crisp and J.D. Drew as locks.
That’s 12. Now, the rub: Lowell and Drew are not healthy. Thus, Mark Kotsay easily grabs spot number 13, as he can play first (Youk at third) or outfield (if Drew is out).
So now it’s between another position player or a pitcher. I’ve established that I think Devern Hansack should be the pitcher. But should the team announce they will move forward with 10 pitchers, who should get the job for the bench? I’m going with Jeff Bailey. He’s shown an ability to handle the stick. I would have hoped to say David Ross a month ago, but Tito hasn’t given him a fair shake at showing value. Bailey has that value and is a former catcher, so we are somewhat covered there.
Between Bailey and Hansack, which is a more pressing need?
Need to ask?
What do you think? Who’s your 25th guy on the roster?