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The Opening Day roster of the Red Sox shouldn’t be too difficult to figure out. Every player who appeared in the postseason last fall remains in the organization, outside of Joe Kelly, Craig Kimbrel, and Ian Kinsler.

But there are a few spots to be decided as the Red Sox start spring training this week, particularly in the bullpen. The defending World Series champions have a strong team but aren’t without some questions that will be answered in the coming weeks.


Let’s take a look at how it could shake out in the first of what will be several versions of this exercise:

Starting lineup (9)

Andrew Benintendi LF

Mookie Betts RF

Xander Bogaerts SS

J.D. Martinez DH

Mitch Moreland 1B

Rafael Devers 3B

Jackie Bradley Jr. CF

Christian Vazquez C

Brock Holt 2B

Explanation: However the batting order shakes out, it’s clear the Sox know who’s playing what position beyond second base. It will be a good story if Dustin Pedroia is ready for Opening Day after missing all but three games last season following knee surgery. But until he arrives in camp and gets back on the field, it’s impossible to assume that. So for now, Holt is the second baseman.

Vazquez had a rough 2018 at the plate but still offers the best combination of offense and defense out of the three catchers. Moreland will platoon with Steve Pearce.

Dustin Pedroia missed almost an entire season.
Dustin Pedroia missed almost an entire season.barry chin/globe staff file/Globe Staff

Related: Nine Red Sox items to ponder before Fort Myers comes to life

Bench (3)

Steve Pearce 1B/DH

Eduardo Nunez INF

Sandy Leon C

Explanation: I think the Sox will break camp with a three-man bench because they play 11 games in 11 days to open the season and the starting pitchers won’t be ready for more than five innings, maybe six. They’ll need the extra bullpen arm.


Beyond that, I’m also not sure there’s another position player you can make a particularly compelling case for. My guess is they also trade Blake Swihart after a year of trying. At this point, it would be best for both sides.

Have we seen the last of Blake Swihart in a Boston uniform?
Have we seen the last of Blake Swihart in a Boston uniform?jim davis/globe staff/Globe Staff

Rotation (5)

Chris Sale LHP

David Price LHP

Rick Porcello RHP

Nathan Eovaldi RHP

Eduardo Rodriguez LHP

Explanation: There’s not much drama here unless somebody gets injured in camp. There will be extra focus on Sale to determine whether he is over the still-mysterious shoulder injury that hampered him in the second half and playoffs last season.

Chris Sale went 12-4 in 27 starts last season.
Chris Sale went 12-4 in 27 starts last season.stan grossfeld/Globe staff

Related: Five questions for the Red Sox heading into spring training

Bullpen (8)

Craig Kimbrel RHP

Matt Barnes RHP

Ryan Brasier RHP

Heath Hembree RHP

Brian Johnson LHP

Hector Velazquez RHP

Brandon Workman RHP

Tyler Thornburg RHP

Explanation: Is it likely the Red Sox make a deal to bring Kimbrel back? Perhaps not. But I’ll roll the dice that he settles for a short-term contract within the next 10 days. I think the Sox might be hoping for that, too, as it’s very strange they haven’t signed even one of the low-cost veterans on the relief market.

Reliever Bobby Poyner could make the team, but Alex Cora doesn’t get caught up in needing a lefty specialist. They’ll need Johnson and Velazquez to help protect the starters for at least the first month of the season.


President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski will not give up on Thornburg, at least not right out of camp. He seems determined to get something out of that terrible trade with Milwaukee.

Much like Pedroia, Steven Wright has to show he’s healthy and can pitch a few times a week out of the bullpen. So I’m not ready to put him on the roster yet.

■  The 2019 Red Sox spring training schedule

■   A look at the Red Sox’ spring training roster

Peter Abraham can be reached at pabraham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.