By Sunday at 4 p.m, the Red Sox -- and the 29 other teams -- will have to submit their 60-man player pools to Major League Baseball.
For now, teams don't have to specify which 30 players will be part of their Opening Day roster. There's no need to differentiate which players are going to be in the big leagues and which will comprise the 30-man taxi squad when regular-season games begin July 23.
Some things to understand:
- Players can shuttle back and forth between the 30-man roster and the 30-man inactive roster once the season is underway. But once a player is removed from the 60-player pool, he's ineligible for the remainder of the season
- With few exceptions, every member of the current 40-man roster would be part of the 60-player pool.
- Teams will be allowed 30 players on the major league roster at the start of the season. After 15 days, that number will drop to 28. And after 29 days, the number will revert to 26 players -- which was the original proposed major league roster size for the 2020 season.
- Once the 60-man pool has been identified, teams will be able to add players via trades, waiver claims, free agent signings etc., but there would need to be a corresponding move in order to make room.
- During the season, teams will travel with a three-man taxi squad and one of those players must be a catcher.
- Effective immediately, teams can make trades and can continue to do so until Aug. 31, the newly-designed trade deadline for 2020 only. But only players included in the 60-man pool can be traded. That means teams won't be able to trade prospects in the lower minors -- since they likely wouldn't be part of the 60-man roster in the first place -- potentially limiting the number of deals that will be consummated.
Things get a little complicated with players invited to spring training on minor league deals, since some of those players are likely to have opt-out clauses in their deals. And if such players ask for and are given their release to determine interest elsewhere, they would be ineligible to be added back to the 60-man player pool for the remainder of the season.
The 40-man roster for the Red Sox includes:
PITCHERS (22): Yoan Aybar, Matt Barnes, Ryan Brasier, Colten Brewer, Austin Brice, Nathan Eovaldi, Matt Hall, Kyle Hart, Heath Hembree, Darwinzon Hernandez, Chris Mazza, Collin McHugh, Josh Osich, Martin Perez, Eduardo Rodriguez, Mike Shawaryn, Jefffrey Springs, Josh Taylor, Phillips Valdez, Marcus Walden, Ryan Weber and Brandon Workman.
(Chris Sale, obviously, won't pitch this season while he recovers from Tommy John surgery and will be placed on the 45-day DL, opening another spot on the 40-man roster).
CATCHERS (3): Jonathan Lucroy, Kevin Plawecki, Christian Vazquez
(Lucroy was not on the 40-man Friday, as he was on a minor league deal with a major-league invite to spring training. But it was clear that the Sox planned to have him on their original 26-man roster at the end of March and the Sox won't want to risk losing him to an opt-out).
INFIELDERS (9): Jonathan Arauz, Xander Bogaerts, C.J. Chatham, Michael Chavis, Bobby Dalbec, Rafael Devers, Tzu-Wei Lin, Mitch Moreland, and Jose Peraza.
(Dustin Pedroia will be either placed on long-term DL or released outright, leading to his official retirement)
OUTFIELDERS (6): Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley Jr., J.D. Martinez, Kevin Pillar, Alex Verdugo, Marcus Wilson.
Some teams will have different strategies with younger prospects not expected to be ready to contribute at the major league level. Some organizations -- especially ones rebuilding -- may want to include younger prospects in their 60-man pool so that they get the benefit of some repetition and, since there will be no minor league season this year, lose a full year of development. Others may be more focused on winning at the major league level and put more of an emphasis on filling their pool who could help out in the event of injury.
It's unclear what the Red Sox' approach will be with this, but watching this play out this weekend may offer a window into their perspective for this season and their expectations.