3 Red Sox who won’t survive the month of May on MLB roster

Craig Breslow is adding for the Red Sox, which means these players won't last through May on the roster in Boston.
Boston Red Sox INF David Hamilton
Boston Red Sox INF David Hamilton / Paul Rutherford/GettyImages

The Boston Red Sox have been one of the bigger surprises of the early 2024 MLB season. Despite projections putting them at the bottom of the AL East, despite a multitude of injuries to key players, and despite the general malaise around this roster coming into the year, the club sits at 18-15 entering the weekend, just 3.5 games out of first place in the division and one game out of an early wild card spot.

Perhaps the best sign for optimism with the Red Sox moving forward, though, is that this team has the chance to truly level up in the coming month. With starters Nick Pivetta, Brayan Bello and possibly Garrett Whitlock returning in the next month, with Vaugh Grissom making his debut on May 3, and with Triston Casas hopefully returning at some point this season, the roster will get stronger.

As these players make their way back to the MLB roster in Boston, however, that means we could see some familiar faces for fans get pushed out. We've already seen the likes of Bobby Dalbec, Joely Rodriguez, Pablo Reyes and Enmanuel Valdez, among others, get optioned or DFA'd, there will be others currently on the Red Sox roster who join them by the end of May.

3. Chase Anderson should be DFA'd once Red Sox pitching gets healthier

There's no denying that new pitching coach Andrew Bailey's effects on the rotation and the bullpen in Boston have been immediately evident. This has been legitimately one of the best pitching staffs top-to-bottom in all of baseball, which is made even more impressive given the injuries the Red Sox have endured with three starters going down, which doesn't even include losing Lucas Giolito prior to Opening Day.

However, even the best groups still have their warts, which we've also seen with the Red Sox. 36-year-old veteran Chase Anderson is one such player who hasn't lived up to the bar set by the rest of the staff this season in his outings.

Anderson has appeared in seven games this season, pitching 14.2 innings and yielding less than stellar results. He's posted a 5.52 ERA after allowing 13 hits and four walks over that time with nine earned runs allowed, including giving up three home runs already as well. But with this performance, we've also seen Alex Cora turn away from using the veteran as his last appearance was on April 25.

It seems as if the Red Sox may just be biding time with Anderson until Pivetta returns. That could likely move Josh Winckowski or Cooper Criswell to a long relief role and push Anderson ultimatley out of the picture as he's a quite likely candidate to be DFA'd based on his age and performance as an outlier in this high-performing Red Sox pitching staff.

2. Naoyuki Uwasawa is Red Sox easiest option to move down as organizational depth

Unlike Chase Anderson, the brief returns from Naoyuki Uwasawa have been solid for the most part. He's pitched in only two games since getting the call up to Boston, but the 30-year-old right-hander has been solid, even if a bit inconsistent and hard to pin down after four innings over work.

He made his Red Sox debut on May 2 in an eventual loss to the San Francisco Giants, going 2.0 innings and allowing no baserunners and no runs while striking out one. However, he appeared again the following night against the Twins and gave up two hits, two walks and an earned run while also allowing more damage with runs charged to Tanner Houck over 2.0 innings of work again in what became a 5-2 loss to Minnesota.

The current state of the Red Sox roster due to injuries makes someone like the 30-year-old Uwasawa valuable as depth. But there's no one mistaking him as a high-end reliever. He lacks velocity and pitches for weak contact, which can be a fickle exercise at the major-league level.

Once again, as the Boston pitching staff starts to get its heavy hitters back in the starting rotation with Pivetta and Bello projected to return soon, I expect some players like Winckowski and Criswell to stick around and get moved into bullpen roles. That would likely mean Uwasawa, however, returns to Triple-A where he'll again be injury insurance if the Red Sox need to call up bullpen depth.

1. David Hamilton should make way for Romy Gonzalez in Red Sox infield

Particularly in the wake of the Trevor Story and Triston Casas injuries while also dealing with a banged-up Rafael Devers and Vaughn Grissom rehabbing to start the year, the Red Sox have had to shuffle the infield quite a bit this season. That, in turn, has led to a good number of opportunities for David Hamilton.

Hamilton has appeared in 14 games this season with 41 plate appearances over which he's slashing just .211/.286/.316 with 13 strikeouts, three walks, and just two extra-base hits. He also has two stolen bases. But where Hamilton's been a true issue has been defensively, where he's garnered a -0.2 dWAR to start the season with three errors and a pedestrian 0.936 fielding percentage.

Put simply, Hamilton lining up at shortstop after Story's injury led to a number of Boston's much-covered defensive issues. Cedanne Rafaela moving from the outfield to the infield has helped stopped that bleeding with Hamilton serving as a lefty bat and pinch-running threat. That, however, may not be enough to keep him on the MLB roster once Romy Gonzalez is healthy.

Gonzalez has more positional utility than Hamilton and, while the 27-year-old doesn't offer a lefty bat, he did hit .250 with a .650 OPS in two games earlier this season before getting injured. He just began his rehab assignment in Triple-A this week, though, and could be a more versatile option for the Red Sox, something they've seemingly valued with recent additions of Zack Short, Garrett Cooper and Dom Smith.

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