We have reached the next in the series of very important unimportant dates. First it was Truck Day. Now we have reached the day when pitchers and catchers report!
It's important because it's another checkbox on the way to the 2019 season! It's unimportant because it doesn't really mean anything. Most of the pitchers and catchers were already in camp anyway. Heck, most of the position players are there by now. But it means that spring training has officially started.
Most years in recent Red Sox history, the start of Spring Training hasn't meant much of anything. It just means that the Sox were going to be hoping nobody gets hurt for the next month and a half. But, this year is slightly different.
The position players are pretty much set. Barring a crazy blockbuster trade, the Sox know who they want to have in the starting lineup. Those players will be going through the motions just trying to get themselves ready. Nobody unexpected can win a spot. Nobody is going to lose their spot based on their Spring Training performance. It's just prep time.
The rotation is also pretty well set. Assuming health, Sale, Price, Porcello, EdRo, and Eovaldi are pretty secure in their rotation spots. Even the order will probably be decided by something other than performance. I suppose EdRo could potentially lose his spot, but that would be a bit of a stretch.
Now, the bullpen. That's another story altogether. The Sox are entering Spring Training without an assumed closer for the first time since...since I don't even know when. That means that there's an honest to god positional battle that will be decided by performance during Spring Training...I assume.
So, assuming that the Sox don't have something unconventional in mind (which I certainly hope they do) that will be something to watch. Which player will grab the closer role? Which player will lose the role? Will it be a tough call? Will it be obvious right from the beginning? Is there a leader going in, or is it truly up in the air?
It will be interesting to watch. It's been a while since we Red Sox fans have had a reason to pay close attention to Spring Training. It will be fun.
I hope I remember how to do it.