Inbox: What will Chavis' role be this season?

Beat reporter Ian Browne answers questions from Red Sox fans

January 30th, 2020

While the trade rumors were flying and the Red Sox still searching for a new manager, there are plenty of other issues surrounding the team with Spring Training now less than two weeks away.

We dissect many of those issues in the latest Inbox.

Who plays the most games at 1B and 2B for the #RedSox in 2020? Will Chavis lock down one of those spots or float between the two like he did in 2019?
-- @CraigMacCormack

looks to be the primary second baseman. Things are a little more fluid at first, but certainly has a chance to win that job with a strong showing in Spring Training. Part of it has to do with . If he proves he is ready to make the team, Dalbec could play first, with Chavis being used in more of a rover type of role.

Any updates on Holt or Moreland? I know Holt’s been linked to a few teams, but haven’t heard anything about Moreland
-- @Hol_mc_19

Since your inquiry came in a few days ago, the Sox did bring back Mitch Moreland on a one-year deal that includes a club option for 2021. This is a good move, as his lefty bat nicely complements righty sluggers Dalbec and Chavis at first. As for Brock Holt, I’m really surprised he hasn’t signed anywhere. With such a versatile skill set -- not to mention the intangibles he brings -- he should be a good fit somewhere. At this point, he doesn’t appear to fit into Boston’s plans.

Any indication from MLB when they will release the findings of their investigation into the 2018 Red Sox?
-- @dw4BoSox

MLB has given no timetable to release its findings. I know the Red Sox are very eager to get this done so they know what -- if any -- discipline they are facing as an organization.

Any chance Pedroia or Varitek is the manager on Opening Day?
-- @Whiteywilhelm

Jason Varitek is in the mix, so there’s at least a chance. That said, I’m not sure how strong the chance is because he’s never managed at any level. I see no chance that Dustin Pedroia would move that fast from player to manager. He has a young family that keeps him very busy, so I just can’t see him moving into that grind of managing this soon. Also, he is still weighing his options as far as whether he should try to play again.

With the core of the '20 Sox still pretty good (if healthy) and this possibly being Mookie's last year in Boston, do you think they prefer to hire a veteran manager vs. another first-timer? Is '20 the end of the "window" for this assemblage of players?
-- @SteveMaurano

I don’t think that is a big factor either way. The Red Sox are looking for the best candidate they can find. I don’t think chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom is all that worried about the experience factor. Many managers have been hired in recent years without experience and have had instant success. Look at Alex Cora, Rocco Baldelli, Kevin Cash and Aaron Boone, just to name a few.

Would you say since the Red Sox haven’t signed Brock Holt at this point and they have signed some other utility guys that Brock is as good as gone?
-- @T_Tatro

Most likely, but not definitely. If the Red Sox can at last open up some payroll flexibility and get below the luxury-tax threshold, perhaps they can finagle Holt back onto the roster if he doesn’t get the opportunities he’s looking for elsewhere.

Can the Sox realistically hire Roenicke or any coach associated with the ‘18 team and still have any credibility? Obviously they knew what the team was doing.
-- @burnsy65

Other than a report in The Athletic, which cited three unnamed sources, we don’t know if the Red Sox were, in fact, “doing” anything. Ownership asked to reserve judgment on the situation until the report comes out. J.D. Martinez was even stronger in saying he believes the Red Sox did nothing wrong. I’m sure the Sox are doing their due diligence on Ron Roenicke and the other internal candidates. And if they do wish to hire an internal candidate, perhaps they wait until that report comes out.

What prospects should be of fan interest in Pawtucket and Portland?
-- @PapaMook

Outfielder Jarren Duran -- who is Boston’s No. 4 prospect and will be a non-roster invitee at Spring Training -- is one that really intrigues me due to his speed, which is described as “plus-plus” by our experts at MLB Pipeline. On the pitching side of things, keep an eye on 2017 first-round Draft pick Tanner Houck, who was promoted to Pawtucket at the end of last season and was solid. The righty and Red Sox No. 5 prospect tops out at 98 mph, but he is most effective with his two-seamer.