Exactly a year ago this week, the Red Sox were preparing for the postseason. Fresh champagne and beer stains were on the ceiling of the clubhouse and smiles could not leave the player’s faces. This week, the scene at Fenway was much different. Visible were empty lockers, boxes upon boxes and barely a player in sight.
With any team in baseball, especially an underperforming one, there is going to be change from year-to-year, so here are three players on the 2014 Red Sox who likely will not be in the 2015 Opening Day lineup:
David Ross, catcher
Ross will be 38-years-old at the beginning of next season and the gritty catcher’s two-year contract is set to expire. The Red Sox seem certain Christian Vazquez can handle the full-time catching duties, partly because of the guidance he received from Ross this season. Another top catching prospect, Blake Swihart in Triple-A, likely needs one more year in the minors. It would seem as though the Red Sox would be in the market for a backup catcher for one season, but Ross doesn’t appear to be that guy. Ross will serve as an ESPN analyst this postseason and it would not be surprising to see him retire.
“I think when we signed him two years ago, what we were hoping to have happen with that position mostly happened,” general manager Ben Cherington said. “He’s done a lot for the organization.”
Jackie Bradley Jr., center field
It was a strange season for Bradley Jr. as the 24-year-old performed at a Gold Glove level in center field, but struggled mightily at the plate. He was sent down to Triple-A in late August with the hope of gaining confidence with the bat. Overall for the year, Bradley Jr. hit .198/.265/.266 and recorded just one hit with the Sox in September.
The team believes there is a future for him — he just needs to learn to hit at the big league level, which is why it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him open 2015 in Pawtucket.
“He does too many things well to think he’s not going to figure that out at some point and go on and be a really good major league player,” said Cherington.
Craig Breslow, relief pitcher
Breslow’s contract is up and the left-handed reliever had a disappointing 2014 season, finishing 2-4 with a 5.96 ERA. One would be hard-pressed to imagine a scenario where the team extends an offer to bring him back, especially with left-handed relievers Drake Britton and Tommy Layne in the minor league system.
It also wouldn’t be a shock to see the organization go out and sign a free agent left-handed reliever to help bolster its bullpen. It appears Breslow’s time in Boston has run out.
Follow Metro Red Sox beat writer Ryan Hannable on Twitter: @RyanHannable