Opening Day is only a few days away, and teams are finally starting to shape the opening day roster. For the Red Sox, pretty much everything is set into stone except for the bench. Yesterday, Deven Marrero was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks, suggesting Brock Hold will be on the bench.
One of the candidates for the Red Sox bench that I was most excited about was Sam Travis. After a tough past few seasons battling injuries, he finally started to hit the ball this spring. I thought for sure he would be on the bench to start the season. However, recently the Sox optioned him to AAA Pawtucket. Here are a few reasons why he should be on the bench Opening Day:
Sam Travis FINALLY BREAKING THROUGH
As I mentioned before, Sam Travis had a tough road to this point. Up until recently he’s been plagued with injuries. However, this spring he has looked great at the plate. He has started to look like the Sam Travis that the Red Sox organization was so high on.
So far in 2018 Spring Training, Travis has hit .274 with six home runs and 17 RBI. He is the team leader in home runs and RBIs with those totals. A lot of people like to make the argument that Spring Training numbers do not mean anything and they aren’t important. But I do not think that these numbers are luck. The numbers that Travis has put up this spring is a direct result of him finally being healthy.
If this had happened before the trade of Marrero, I suppose it would have made a little more sense. But after that deal, I start to wonder who will actually be on the Red Sox bench.
Obviously Brock Holt will be kept, who is also poised for a better season once that he is now healthy. Blake Swihart is also another guy that I believe will be on the bench to start the season. Just like Travis, he is putting up monstrous numbers to fight for his spot on the team, which he will more than likely get.
After those two, I really have no clue why anyone would want another option besides Travis. Realistically, the only other choice is Leon, which is understandable. You would not want to just have Vasquez and Swihart, two young catchers. It is always nice to keep a veteran at that position.
Considering that there are no other options besides those three, it looks like the Red Sox are running with three guys on the bench and eight guys in the bullpen. This is assuming they use a five man rotation.
You could make arguments for both sides, but I think the Red Sox are making a mistake here. I think Travis could have had the opportunity to give this team character and production to start the season. Hopefully he gets another chance at the major league level sooner rather than later.
Cover image courtesy of Baseball Hot Corner.