Fourth in a series of spring training roster breakdowns coming this week. Monday: starters. Tuesday: Relievers. Wednesday: Infielders. Today: Outfielders. Friday: Catchers and DHs.
As the Red Sox prepare for spring training, here is a look at their outfielders:
Expected starters: Jacoby Ellsbury (CF), Shane Victorino (RF), Jonny Gomes (LF).
In the mix: Ryan Sweeney, Daniel Nava, Alex Hassan.
Prospects of note: Jackie Bradley Jr., Bryce Brentz, Juan Carlos Linares, Jeremy Hazelbaker.
Organizational depth: Mitch Maier, Drew Sutton.
Out injured: Ryan Kalish (recovering from shoulder surgery).
Breakdown: The Sox remade their outfield, signing Gomes (two years, $10 million) and Victorino (three years, $39 million) to deals that seemed a little steep. But at least they’re major leaguers after the tryout camp that went on for much of last season. Gomes is a poor defender who does not hit righthanders well. The Sox need a solid backup who can hit lefthanded. That could be Sweeney or perhaps the switch-hitting Nava, who is much better from the left side.
What’s good: Victorino brings center field-quality defense to right field, a plus at Fenway Park. He also plays with energy, something the lifeless Sox could use … Ellsbury missed much of 2010 with an injury, was a superstar in 2011, then missed much of 2012 with an injury. In his free agent walk year, the motivation should be there … Bradley will be in his first major league camp. He could work his way into the mix … Gomes has power from the right side and is an excellent clubhouse presence.
What’s bad: Victorino has gone .267/.337/.434 the last two seasons, and the Sox will be his third team in less than a year … Ellsbury has played only 250 of a possible 486 games (51 percent) the last three years … Gomes has a career UZR of minus-25.8 in left field … The starting outfielders hit 33 home runs last season.
Theme song: “Chemistry Class” by Elvis Costello and the Attractions.