2024 Red Sox Spring Training

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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I think Crawford's peripheral numbers last year had a few people expecting good things from him this year, provided he could get in shape to pitch in more games and more innings per; something he said he did over the winter. It's nice to see a plan, some buy-in, and some results.
Agreed he showed some stuff last year to feel good about his potential. And a few here have been more bullish on him over Bello even (we’ll see).
But mostly his minor league track record at best was no. 5 starter on a bad team
 

Rovin Romine

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I think Crawford's peripheral numbers last year had a few people expecting good things from him this year, provided he could get in shape to pitch in more games and more innings per; something he said he did over the winter. It's nice to see a plan, some buy-in, and some results.
His actual numbers last year were pretty good too.

He's sort of hard to easily project given his role last year: pressed into starting twice at the beginning of the season, then sent to the minors for a hot second (for Whitlock coming back from the IL), then back up as a long man (for Kelly going on the IL), then to the IL himself with a hamstring strain, and by this point - it's early May.

Then activated to be a couple-inning reliever, then pressed back into starting on June 2nd due to injury/ineffectiveness (Sale to the IL). He was basically fully stretched out by the end of June, but his pitch count appeared to be soft-capped in the upper 80s during the great-starter-shortage in the summer.

His total numbers show him with a lower ERA out of the pen, but given the above, I'm not sure what weight to give that. One of the biggest things with him though is he showed no significant splits to RHB v LHB over the whole of the year.

Also, FWIW, here's his summary from SoxProspects as of. . .2021 I'm guessing, based on the updates:
Summation: Projects as middle reliever. Ceiling of a high-quality swingman, capable of pitching in short or long relief outings with the occasional spot start as well. Has the potential for two above-average offerings in his fastball and curveball and a solid third pitch with his cutter, but command needs refinement. Combination of delivery and injury track record point towards him being best suited for a bullpen role.
 

Rovin Romine

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He developed a slider/sweeper that is a plus pitch that has made all the difference from reliever to legitimate starter.
Yep. Something to keep in mind, along with the Ryan Brasier experience, when thinking about what we have in hand.

I'm hopeful Bailey will help someone else unlock something.
 

bernie carb 33

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Guy I know saw a Sox game the other day with Criswell pitching. He was barely hitting 90 on velo, based on a jugs gun somebody had. His strategy seems to be changing his pitching angles to keep batters off balance. I think Houck and Whitfield look to be the more effective 4 and 5 starters.

Today (Thursday) Raphaela is starting at 2B. That's probably getting him some experience in the IF in case it's needed the next couple weeks of the regular season.
 

CR67dream

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Guy I know saw a Sox game the other day with Criswell pitching. He was barely hitting 90 on velo, based on a jugs gun somebody had. His strategy seems to be changing his pitching angles to keep batters off balance. I think Houck and Whitfield look to be the more effective 4 and 5 starters.

Today (Thursday) Raphaela is starting at 2B. That's probably getting him some experience in the IF in case it's needed the next couple weeks of the regular season.
Well we'll get to see him live against the O's tonight at 6:00. Game is on NESN+ due to the Bruins. It does seem Houck and Whitlock will round out the rotation regardless, assuming no further moves.

Cora announced a few days ago that we would see Rafaela at second, looking forward to it.
 

bernie carb 33

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Criswell had four clean innings today with 4 K's. I'm pulling for him, used to pitch for my alma mater. Both Jansen and Martin got to relieve Criswell. The Sox defense had a glitch today when Wong overthrew 1st on a pick-off. Gave the O's their only run, so far.
 

Cassvt2023

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For those watching this game on NESN +, Rafaela just made a ridiculous play @ 2nd to throw out the lead runner. Can’t wait to follow him this season, he is a fun guy to watch.
 

YTF

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Just caught some highlights from yesterday's game vs Baltimore. It looks like Criswell and Jansen both pitched well. Heard some commentary mentioning how Criswell had great movement on the ball throwing "nothing straight" and while it was just one inning it's nice that Jansen seemed to come through it looking good and without incident.
 

simplicio

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Has anyone seen reporting on Criswell's velocity? I know the big knock against him has always been that he has trouble breaking 90mph, but I don't know if Bailey has been able to help him improve that.
 

Rovin Romine

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Rain delay against the bluejays. . .but it is a Free Game of the Day on MLB.TV.

Also, scrolling through, it looks like all the remaining ST games are labeled free games of the day on the MLB scoreboard site, so I thought I'd note that here instead of only in the gamethread.

Radar looks like a maybe - still shot but this is drifting mostly SW to NE.

79813
 

Cassvt2023

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Today's lineup for 1st game of a split squad in Bradenton against the Pirates:

Abreu RF
P Reyes 2B
Casas 1B
Dalbec DH
R Anthony CF
Wong C
M Mayer SS
Alvarez 3B
Contreras LF

Bello on the bump.
 

YTF

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Today's lineup for 1st game of a split squad in Bradenton against the Pirates:

Abreu RF
P Reyes 2B
Casas 1B
Dalbec DH
R Anthony CF
Wong C
M Mayer SS
Alvarez 3B
Contreras LF

Bello on the bump.
I wish that I was going to be around to watch this today. I'm not wishing this season away, but Casas, Anthony and Mayer in the same lineup with Bello on the mound might offer a fun glimpse into the future.
 

Fishy1

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Wilyer has had a tough spring, but he's only posted a .200 BABIP. If that were closer to .300 he'd be looking at a much better result. I'm still excited to see what he does with his role this year, which might be pretty part-time giving the glut of outfielders.
 

Cassvt2023

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Game 2 lineup, JetBlue park, 6:05pm NESN:

Duran RF
Devers 3B
Story SS
Cron 1B
O'Neill DH
Yoshida LF
Rafaela CF
Valdez 2B
McGuire C

Pivetta on the bump
 

Yo La Tengo

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Taking a big-picture look as the Sox approach the end of spring training:

  • The defense should be significantly better, with Story and Rafaela up the middle. Somehow, Rafaela appears ready to match the hype, which will be a game changer. Hopefully Grissom is back soon so we can see what he looks like at 2B.
  • Speaking of Story and Rafaela, they have looked great all spring. Two big upgrades offensively if these trends continue. Devers looks good, with more power up the middle and to LF. Wong and Duran look ready for opening day as well. Spring training hitting stats are fickle, but the 1-9 lineup looks improved.
  • Pitching looks... thin with upside? Nice to get the extension done with Bello. Weirdly, if the Sox want Giolito for 2025 and 2026, it would seem a modified contract would make sense for both sides. It is a bummer that he is injured, as Houlk and Whitlock in the rotation makes the pitching depth as a whole really shallow. Nonetheless, all five starters have looked decent to good this spring. I hate to say it, but Montgomery would make such a huge difference with this group. If only he was available, with no Qualifying offer attached.

As a whole, this has been a positive spring training. Vibes seem good. And all of the AL East teams have flaws and question marks right now. If the five starters could average out to 140 innings a piece, is that enough to put this team in the playoff mix?

EDIT: 75 MLB pitchers threw 140 innings last year. Over 100 threw 120 innings. Here are the numbers for the Sox starters last year:
Bello- 157
Pivetta- 142
Crawford- 129
Houck- 106
Whitlock- 71

A team plays ~1400 innings a season. What is the minimum number of innings the Sox starters need to throw to keep the team competitive? Averaging 140 innings per starter is only 700 innings.
 
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joe dokes

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I didnt see the game, and I know Crawford gave up some runs, but I hope that not pulling the starter as soon as he gets knocked around a bit early becomes routine.
 

Fishy1

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Interesting thing for me will be if Wong continues to keep up his very low K rate -- just 14%, a massive, massive improvement over last year's 33%. he really adjusted his timing mechanism in the offseason, and we'll see if it will continue to pay dividends. Obviously 42 PA is a very small sample size, but K rate stabilizes much faster than other statistics, like way faster, and that drop in K rate is too much for me to really totally ignore. I really doubt he's a guy who only strikes out 14% of the time, of course, but if he can keep that K rate at 20-25% rather than the astronomical 33%, that'll be a huge boon for him as a hitter.
 

YTF

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Interesting thing for me will be if Wong continues to keep up his very low K rate -- just 14%, a massive, massive improvement over last year's 33%. he really adjusted his timing mechanism in the offseason, and we'll see if it will continue to pay dividends. Obviously 42 PA is a very small sample size, but K rate stabilizes much faster than other statistics, like way faster, and that drop in K rate is too much for me to really totally ignore. I really doubt he's a guy who only strikes out 14% of the time, of course, but if he can keep that K rate at 20-25% rather than the astronomical 33%, that'll be a huge boon for him as a hitter.
Absolutely, balls put in play create opportunity. Non contact outs, especially with runners on base, do not.
 

8slim

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Taking a big-picture look as the Sox approach the end of spring training:

  • The defense should be significantly better, with Story and Rafaela up the middle. Somehow, Rafaela appears ready to match the hype, which will be a game changer. Hopefully Grissom is back soon so we can see what he looks like at 2B.
  • Speaking of Story and Rafaela, they have looked great all spring. Two big upgrades offensively if these trends continue. Devers looks good, with more power up the middle and to LF. Wong and Duran look ready for opening day as well. Spring training hitting stats are fickle, but the 1-9 lineup looks improved.
  • Pitching looks... thin with upside? Nice to get the extension done with Bello. Weirdly, if the Sox want Giolito for 2025 and 2026, it would seem a modified contract would make sense for both sides. It is a bummer that he is injured, as Houlk and Whitlock in the rotation makes the pitching depth as a whole really shallow. Nonetheless, all five starters have looked decent to good this spring. I hate to say it, but Montgomery would make such a huge difference with this group. If only he was available, with no Qualifying offer attached.

As a whole, this has been a positive spring training. Vibes seem good. And all of the AL East teams have flaws and question marks right now. If the five starters could average out to 140 innings a piece, is that enough to put this team in the playoff mix?

EDIT: 75 MLB pitchers threw 140 innings last year. Over 100 threw 120 innings. Here are the numbers for the Sox starters last year:
Bello- 157
Pivetta- 142
Crawford- 129
Houck- 106
Whitlock- 71

A team plays ~1400 innings a season. What is the minimum number of innings the Sox starters need to throw to keep the team competitive? Averaging 140 innings per starter is only 700 innings.
Great summary, YLT.

Who would you say are the 6th, 7th and 8th starters at the moment? Long guys in the pen, or a few pitchers at AAA?
 

simplicio

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My guess is the pecking order goes:
Anderson
Criswell
Winckowski
Walter
Fitts

But Fitts is probably likeliest to climb that ladder.
 

Yo La Tengo

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Thinking about innings is a good exercise in projecting the season. If all 5 starters make 25 starts and average 5 innings per start (which I would qualify as a huge success), that leaves 37 games that need a starter. And 775 innings that someone needs to throw.

So I agree that the sequence is likely:
Anderson
Criswell
Winckowski

... but the team is going to need a LOT more innings than those three can provide. Plus a player like Winckowski can't be in AAA stretched out to start and also provide innings from the bullpen in Boston. The lack of depth puts the team in a likely position of being competitive into July, but needing significant reinforcements for the pitching staff or else the wheels fall off. Does that sound familiar?
 

YTF

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Thinking about innings is a good exercise in projecting the season. If all 5 starters make 25 starts and average 5 innings per start (which I would qualify as a huge success), that leaves 37 games that need a starter. And 775 innings that someone needs to throw.

So I agree that the sequence is likely:
Anderson
Criswell
Winckowski

... but the team is going to need a LOT more innings than those three can provide. Plus a player like Winckowski can't be in AAA stretched out to start and also provide innings from the bullpen in Boston. The lack of depth puts the team in a likely position of being competitive into July, but needing significant reinforcements for the pitching staff or else the wheels fall off. Does that sound familiar?
Sure does and it's likely to have a domino effect on the pen. I saw it as a concern before Giolito went down. Even if they choose not to go the big ticket route they'll need someone.
 

Yo La Tengo

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Where is the modern version of Bob Stanley (born in Maine!)? I failed to appreciate how good Stanley was, in large part because I missed most of his best years and saw more of the slumped shoulders and beleaguered expression of his latter seasons with the Sox. Here's a long portion of a great article available online written by Will Anderson on the SABR website:


His work during the spring training of 1977 was so outstanding that Red Sox manager Don Zimmer decided to carry a 10-man pitching staff back to Fenway Park instead of his planned nine. Stanley was number 10.

In his first year in a Red Sox uniform, Stanley set the pattern that would forever make him such an asset to the team. He was, as the Kansas City Star later crowned him, the league’s MVP – Most Versatile Pitcher. He was a starter. He was a long reliever. He was a short reliever. And he did it all well. His 1977 numbers include 13 starts, 28 relief appearances, and an 8-7 record, with a sub-4.00 ERA (3.99). His first game was in long relief, four innings on April 16 against the Indians in Cleveland, allowing just one earned run, earning him a save in the fifth game of the season, an 8-4 Boston win.

It was in 1978 – the year of the ill-fated Bucky Dent playoff homer – that Bob Stanley really came into his own. Appearing in 52 games, all but three in relief, he posted a sterling 15-2 mark. He was second in the league in won-lost percentage (his .882 was bettered only by Ron Guidry’s remarkable 25-3/.893) and tops in relief appearance wins (with an even dozen). Toss in 10 saves and just five home runs allowed in 141⅔ innings and you have one mighty fine season.

The next year, 1979, saw Stanley go almost full tilt. His relief appearances dropped to 10, but his starts numbered a career-high 30. He also won a career-high 16 games, four of them – just one behind league leaders Nolan Ryan, Mike Flanagan, and Dennis Leonard – coming via shutouts. He was selected for the American League All-Star team and hurled two innings of scoreless ball against the star-studded senior-circuit lineup, giving up one hit and one earned run.

Stanley had identical 10-8 records the next two seasons, 1980 and 1981. They came via very different routes, though: In 1980 he split his time between starting assignments (17) and the bullpen (35 appearances), while in 1981 he was used almost exclusively in relief, making but one start.

In 1982 Stanley enjoyed another banner season. He set an American League record for most innings pitched by a relief pitcher (168⅓), notched a 12-7 record, and recorded 14 saves.

In 1983 Stanley’s 33 saves ranked him behind only Dan Quisenberry of Kansas City (who had 45). It was a Red Sox single-season record until broken by Jeff Reardon in 1991. As Boston manager Ralph Houk noted in a USA Today interview: “I can’t recall ever managing anybody I could use either long or short as much as I use him.” Stanley was once more named to the American League All-Star squad. He did, though, post his first major-league losing season (8-10). More would follow. In fact, he would not see a winning season again until 1988. Fenway Park fans started to get on Stanley along the way. His spare tire made him an easy target. So did his $1 million salary. As he joked to his teammates at one point: “Maybe I should change to Lou Stanley.” That way, he reasoned, when the fans began to boo he could just say they were calling his name … Lou.

https://sabr.org/bioproj/person/bob-stanley/
 

Lose Remerswaal

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The next year, 1979, saw Stanley go almost full tilt. His relief appearances dropped to 10, but his starts numbered a career-high 30. He also won a career-high 16 games, four of them – just one behind league leaders Nolan Ryan, Mike Flanagan, and Dennis Leonard – coming via shutouts. He was selected for the American League All-Star team and hurled two innings of scoreless ball against the star-studded senior-circuit lineup, giving up one hit and one earned run.
Good stuff, except I don't get the bolded part
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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Stanley threw is last pitch at age 34. Gun to my head, I would have guessed he was 42 when he retired.
Maybe it’s just the way people looked back then- but the Sox had a parade of pitchers who all perpetually looked like they were in their mid-40s- Stanley, Mike Smithson, Nipper, Dennis Lamp, Greg Harris…
 

Yo La Tengo

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Stanley threw is last pitch at age 34. Gun to my head, I would have guessed he was 42 when he retired.
Part of my bias is definitely based on his physique and demeanor and I agree that he seemed so much older. If his stats were the same but he looked like a Goose Gossage/Lee Smith, I'm guessing he would have a very different legacy.
 

Rovin Romine

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Where is the modern version of Bob Stanley (born in Maine!)? I failed to appreciate how good Stanley was, in large part because I missed most of his best years and saw more of the slumped shoulders and beleaguered expression of his latter seasons with the Sox.
I have good memories of my grandmother trying not to swear in front of the grandkids - "Bob Stanley, you, you. . .bum!"
 

Cassvt2023

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I'm curious to see what tonight's lineup in Texas will look like when it is announced in the next few hours. Since they play tomorrow in the daytime, I'm guessing that what Cora puts out there tonight will be a glimpse of what we will see opening night in Seattle. I'll take a stab:

Duran RF
Devers 3B
Story SS
Casas 1B
O'Neill LF
Yoshida DH
Wong C
Valdez 2B
Rafaela CF

Others predictions?
 

8slim

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Where is the modern version of Bob Stanley (born in Maine!)? I failed to appreciate how good Stanley was, in large part because I missed most of his best years and saw more of the slumped shoulders and beleaguered expression of his latter seasons with the Sox. Here's a long portion of a great article available online written by Will Anderson on the SABR website:


His work during the spring training of 1977 was so outstanding that Red Sox manager Don Zimmer decided to carry a 10-man pitching staff back to Fenway Park instead of his planned nine. Stanley was number 10.

In his first year in a Red Sox uniform, Stanley set the pattern that would forever make him such an asset to the team. He was, as the Kansas City Star later crowned him, the league’s MVP – Most Versatile Pitcher. He was a starter. He was a long reliever. He was a short reliever. And he did it all well. His 1977 numbers include 13 starts, 28 relief appearances, and an 8-7 record, with a sub-4.00 ERA (3.99). His first game was in long relief, four innings on April 16 against the Indians in Cleveland, allowing just one earned run, earning him a save in the fifth game of the season, an 8-4 Boston win.

It was in 1978 – the year of the ill-fated Bucky Dent playoff homer – that Bob Stanley really came into his own. Appearing in 52 games, all but three in relief, he posted a sterling 15-2 mark. He was second in the league in won-lost percentage (his .882 was bettered only by Ron Guidry’s remarkable 25-3/.893) and tops in relief appearance wins (with an even dozen). Toss in 10 saves and just five home runs allowed in 141⅔ innings and you have one mighty fine season.

The next year, 1979, saw Stanley go almost full tilt. His relief appearances dropped to 10, but his starts numbered a career-high 30. He also won a career-high 16 games, four of them – just one behind league leaders Nolan Ryan, Mike Flanagan, and Dennis Leonard – coming via shutouts. He was selected for the American League All-Star team and hurled two innings of scoreless ball against the star-studded senior-circuit lineup, giving up one hit and one earned run.

Stanley had identical 10-8 records the next two seasons, 1980 and 1981. They came via very different routes, though: In 1980 he split his time between starting assignments (17) and the bullpen (35 appearances), while in 1981 he was used almost exclusively in relief, making but one start.

In 1982 Stanley enjoyed another banner season. He set an American League record for most innings pitched by a relief pitcher (168⅓), notched a 12-7 record, and recorded 14 saves.

In 1983 Stanley’s 33 saves ranked him behind only Dan Quisenberry of Kansas City (who had 45). It was a Red Sox single-season record until broken by Jeff Reardon in 1991. As Boston manager Ralph Houk noted in a USA Today interview: “I can’t recall ever managing anybody I could use either long or short as much as I use him.” Stanley was once more named to the American League All-Star squad. He did, though, post his first major-league losing season (8-10). More would follow. In fact, he would not see a winning season again until 1988. Fenway Park fans started to get on Stanley along the way. His spare tire made him an easy target. So did his $1 million salary. As he joked to his teammates at one point: “Maybe I should change to Lou Stanley.” That way, he reasoned, when the fans began to boo he could just say they were calling his name … Lou.

https://sabr.org/bioproj/person/bob-stanley/
We could cross post this in the “frailty” thread, because Bob Stanley’s don’t exist in baseball anymore. Which is a shame.
 

Rovin Romine

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I'm curious to see what tonight's lineup in Texas will look like when it is announced in the next few hours. Since they play tomorrow in the daytime, I'm guessing that what Cora puts out there tonight will be a glimpse of what we will see opening night in Seattle. I'll take a stab:

Duran RF
Devers 3B
Story SS
Casas 1B
O'Neill LF
Yoshida DH
Wong C
Valdez 2B
Rafaela CF

Others predictions?
FWIW, MLB projects Seattle's starter as RHP Luis Castillo.
 

Rovin Romine

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I did read that. I'm still guessing its O'Neill over Abreu, assuming he can play the field. Its just a gut feeling but I could be wrong.
I could see either, depending.

But on that note, how do we stand with Cora finalizing the 26 man roster? I know there have been some recent ups and downs, but which players are still maybes?
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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I'm curious to see what tonight's lineup in Texas will look like when it is announced in the next few hours. Since they play tomorrow in the daytime, I'm guessing that what Cora puts out there tonight will be a glimpse of what we will see opening night in Seattle. I'll take a stab:

Duran RF
Devers 3B
Story SS
Casas 1B
O'Neill LF
Yoshida DH
Wong C
Valdez 2B
Rafaela CF

Others predictions?
I suspect they'll switch Duran to LF and O'Neill to RF. Duran's arm strength being the biggest reason. Otherwise.....
 

Cassvt2023

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I could see either, depending.

But on that note, how do we stand with Cora finalizing the 26 man roster? I know there have been some recent ups and downs, but which players are still maybes?
I think it's pretty much set now that Leutge accepted a spot at AAA and Cron was released:

C Wong, McGuire
IF Casas, Devers, Story, Reyes, Valdez, Dalbec
OF Duran, Rafaela, O'Neill, Abreu, Yoshida

SP Bello, Pivetta, Crawford, Houck, Whitlock
RP Jansen, Martin, Bernadino, J Rodriguez, Winckowski, Anderson, Slaten, Campbell

Am I missing anything here?
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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I could see either, depending.

But on that note, how do we stand with Cora finalizing the 26 man roster? I know there have been some recent ups and downs, but which players are still maybes?
I think the roster is pretty much determined now, barring any last minute injuries.

Bello, Pivetta, Crawford, Houck, Whitlock
Jansen, Martin, Winckowski, Slaten, Bernardino, Anderson, Campbell, Rodriguez
Wong, McGuire
Yoshida, Duran, O’Neill, Rafaela, Abreu
Devers, Story, Valdez, Reyes, Casas, Dalbec
 

LoweTek

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Stanley threw is last pitch at age 34. Gun to my head, I would have guessed he was 42 when he retired.
Bob also left another contract year and a $1m salary on the table when he retired. He did so because his young son was going through life--threatening treatments at Dana Farber and he felt he needed to devote his time and focus the issues his son was having. Admirable and highly so, IMO.

Fortunately, there was a happy outcome. His son has been cancer free for years, went on to graduate from Providence College, and is doing very well. Guess who continues to work extensively with the Jimmy Fund and always did?