With less than a week and a half before pitchers and catchers report to Fort Myers for the start of spring training, the Red Sox are a team in limbo.
They do not have a manager, and for the time being, it's unknown whether their best player, Mookie Betts, will head to Fort Myers later this month or instead report to his new team somewhere in Arizona.
As such, it's difficult to project the Red Sox roster, since any trade of Betts would likely return at least one major league-ready player and scramble the team's outfield picture in a big way. If the Sox get Alex Verdugo in a package from the Los Angeles Dodgers, does he take over in right? If Wil Myers comes from San Diego, could the Sox put him in left, shift Andrew Benintendi to center and Jackie Bradley Jr. to right?
The options are seemingly endless.
But ignoring the uncertainty surrounding Betts, there are still some position battles and jobs open for competition separate from his status. Here's a look at how they might play out:
1. SECOND BASE/UTILITY INFIELDER
The Red Sox have every intent of giving Jose Peraza the chance to win the second base job. Signed as a free agent from Cincinnati, Peraza has the ability to fill in at short and third and can play the outfield, too. But, for now, he'll be the primary second baseman. He may have to improve his offensive game to retain that role, however.
If you cede Peraza the second base job for now, that slides Michael Chavis into a hybrid role, splitting time between first and second. Chavis showed surprising athleticism at second last year -- as demonstrated by some defensive metrics. One issue: while it might make sense to have Chavis and prodigal first baseman Mitch Moreland in a rather strict platoon at first, that becomes complicated by the fact that Chavis performed slightly better against righthanders (.774) than against lefties (.742).
Beyond Chavis, the Red Sox can afford to carry another middle infielder. That spot could go to Tzu-Wei Lin, who would probably qualify as the team's best defender at short. Lin can also play second and third. Importantly, he's out of options, which means the Sox could risk losing him on a waiver claim if he didn't make the team out of spring training.
There's also Rule V pick Jonathan Arauz, who is advanced defensively but likely to be highly overmatched offensively, having played just 28 games above Single A. Arauz will have to display his defensive versatility to stick. It would seem a longshot that a team with designs on contending would carry a 21-year-old with little professional experience for the entire season, but maybe Arauz will surprise the Sox with his instincts and ability to learn quickly.
Another longshot option is C.J. Chatham, who is viewed by some as something of a sleeper. Chatham has hit at every level of the minor leagues and it's not impossible that he could be the team's starter at second at some point in 2020. Whether he can crack the roster as a backup in the spring -- he also has experience at short -- is another matter altogether.
2. BACKUP OUTFIELDER