September is rapidly approaching, which means that rosters expand from 25 to 40 players. It is unlikely that the Red Sox make a last-second deal, so who they have now is who they are going with. The Sox are dealing with injuries and they need guys to help the rest of the way. Here are some players who can add depth in the home stretch:
Infielders Tony Renda and Tzu Wei Lin are infielders who can play any position in the infield if needed. Even though he has struggled at the big league level this year, Lin has shown that he has potential. He is hitting .182 at the big league level this year, but he is hitting .313 with a .824 OPS in Pawtucket. The infielder showed that he can contribute on the big league level when he hit .268 in 66 plate appearances last year.
Tony Renda appeared in just one game this year as a pinch-runner when he scored the game-winning run against the Yankees. Renda can be the player who pinch runs in late innings. He would be the 2017 Rajai Davis or 2004 Dave Roberts. He is not nearly as good or as fast as those players, but it is the same idea. Renda had 30 stolen bases in 2013. He is a journeyman player who has done well in the minors but hit he hit just .183 in 32 games with the Reds in 2016. He is the classic “4A” player.
Brandon Phillips is not on the 40 man roster, but two spots are open on the 40 man roster. The veteran is hitting .308 with 14 doubles in 41 games with Pawtucket. To be postseason eligible, he must be called up before September first. Red Sox top prospect Michael Chavis is ready to be a big leaguer, but there is no point in calling him up. He is not eligible for the postseason roster because of his suspension, so why waste a year of experience on your top prospect?
The Red Sox bullpen has not been good since the all-star break, and it is clearly the biggest need on the team. Justin Haley has struggled in the big leagues this year, but has a 3.89 ERA in Pawtucket and has been the ace ever since Jalen Beeks was traded. William Cuevas has also been a starter in Pawtucket with big league experience this year. Cuevas has a 3.39 ERA in 135.1 innings this year in Pawtucket.
He and Haley would be the long relief options should someone have a short start. Robby Scott is another option and is a pitcher Cora would bring in for a specific matchup. Chris Sale, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Steven Wright have all been key contributors to the starting rotation this year, especially Sale. All three are on the DL, but all three are expected to come back. Rodriguez is making a start against the White Sox on Saturday.
Durbin Feltman and Travis Lakins are widely talked about prospects, and deservingly so. Lakins has a 2.08 ERA in Pawtucket this year. Durbin Feltman was drafted this year and has shot his way through the farm system. Feltman has a 2.18 ERA in the minors this year over 20.2 innings. There is a good chance one or both of them could fill the final two spots on the roster. This is most important for Boston because the back end of the bullpen is clearly the biggest need.