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Peter Abraham

Projecting the Red Sox roster, version 1.0

The Red Sox at workouts in Fort Myers on Sunday. Barry Chin/Globe Staff

FORT MYERS, Fla. — With the first games of spring training coming up this week, now is a good time to project what the Red Sox roster will look like on April 6 for Opening Day.

Ben Cherington has said the Sox will keep 12 pitchers, so that is the model we’re going by.

Contracts matter for this exercise. The Red Sox will try to maintain control of as much talent as possible and the best way to accomplish that is by sending players to Triple A Pawtucket. Prospects with options often end up in the minors in April because the team wants to get a better look at a veteran or two.


It’s fun to wonder what the roster will look like. But it’s often a waste of time, too. The roster can and will change so often that it’s a good bet the team that goes to Philadelphia will not be the team that arrives at Fenway Park for the home opener on April 13.

That said, here’s our first guess:


RF Mookie Betts (R)

2B Dustin Pedroia (R)

DH David Ortiz (L)

LF Hanley Ramirez (R)

3B Pablo Sandoval (S)

1B Mike Napoli (R)

CF Rusney Castillo (R)

SS Xander Bogaerts (R)

C Christian Vazquez (R)

Explanation: The guess here is that the Sox will trade Shane Victorino. They need Betts in the lineup because they need a leadoff hitter and that’s not something Victorino has done regularly since 2011. Beyond right field, the other positions are set. John Farrell has said center field is open, but the Sox would have a hard time explaining why they gave Castillo a $72.5 million contract and he wasn’t good enough to start. Castillo is 27, and he’s a long way from being a prospect who needs seasoning.


If Victorino looks good in spring training, especially hitting lefthanded, the Sox may want to stick with their surplus. But it would be poor roster construction not to have Betts on the team, as he is clearly one of their best players. The Sox put themselves in this box by obtaining one outfielder after another. Now they need to find a way out.


C Ryan Hanigan

INF Brock Holt

OF-1B Daniel Nava

OF-1B Allen Craig

Explanation: If Victorino is not traded, this becomes awfully tricky. Nava, because he is a lefthanded hitter with defensive versatility, is valuable to this team. He also won’t complain about his role. The Sox could use Craig as depth at 1B and LF given the health concerns for Napoli and Ramirez. It will be a surprise if Ramirez plays more than 120 games given his history, so the Sox will need more than a replacement-level player on the roster.


RHP Clay Buchholz

RHP Rick Porcello

LHP Wade Miley

RHP Joe Kelly

RHP Justin Masterson

Explanation: Unless the Sox trade for Cole Hamels or Cliff Lee, these are the five they’ll start the season with. No, there’s no ace. But this is a better group than they are given credit for.


RHP Koji Uehara

RHP Junichi Tazawa

LHP Craig Breslow

RHP Edward Mujica

RHP Alexi Ogando

LHP Robbie Ross Jr.

RHP Anthony Varvaro

Explanation: It wouldn’t be a bad idea to trade Mujica to open a spot for Brandon Workman, who has options. The pick for the second lefty at this point is the more experienced Ross instead of Tommy Layne. But it could well be the reverse. Don’t sleep on Varvaro, who was strong for Atlanta the last two seasons. Mitchell Boggs could work his way into this group but he has pitched only 27 games in the majors over the last two years. He may need time in Triple A.


Related coverage:

■  There’s a lot to like about Mookie Betts

■  Dan Shaughnessy: Justin Masterson eager to prove himself again

Peter Abraham can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @peteabe.