Inbox: Is Dalbec ready to make an impact?

Beat reporter Ian Browne answers Red Sox fans' questions

January 3rd, 2020

BOSTON -- Now that the new year has arrived and baseball season is just around the corner, it’s time to answer questions about how the Red Sox are shaping up for 2020 and whether there will still be moves made this offseason in the latest Reporter’s Inbox.

What is your projected Opening Day lineup? -- @iMikeLav

How about this?

I realize that Chavis will need to learn how to play left field in Spring Training for this lineup to be 100 percent correct. There’s also a chance they could ask Dalbec to learn left field if they think he is more equipped to handle the position switch. Bottom line is that I think is going to get traded this winter as a salary casualty, with Benintendi sliding to his natural position of center field. Otherwise, I believe much of the lineup will be intact from last season.

Why should I feel good about this '20 team? I see no reason right now. -- @JosephArthurs5

Sure, I can think of a couple of reasons. The offense is stacked, particularly if Benintendi rebounds and the other guys pretty much do what you expect. Also, if Sale and stay healthy and pitch like they did in 2018, the glass looks half-full instead of half-empty. I realize there are some ifs. But the season is hardly lost already. If enough questions can get answered in a positive way, the Red Sox could be right in the mix again.

Do you feel that Bobby Dalbec is 100 percent ready? -- @Rebuildd

Can you ask me that again midway through Spring Training? It’s really hard to know because I haven’t gotten a lot of looks at Dalbec. Last spring, he looked like a typical player going through his first Major League camp. This is to say he was doing some good things, but also still learning what it takes to succeed at the highest level of baseball. You can’t question his attitude or commitment. He is known to have a strong work ethic. I’m very intrigued to see what type of advancement Dalbec has made in the last year.

If the Red Sox trade , where do you see the fifth starter coming from? Trade, free-agent signing or depth? -- @seanfox11

Part of that depends on how much of Price’s salary the Sox are able to shed. I think there’s a good chance they go with an opener for the fifth spot in the rotation. Don’t forget that Boston’s new chief of baseball operations, Chaim Bloom, was on the ground floor of creating the opener. And in this particular offseason for the Red Sox -- when every dollar counts -- it seems to make a lot of sense.

What are some logical landing spots for David Price if he eventually gets traded? -- @K_DeLa_

Keep an eye on the Dodgers, who are clearly looking to make things happen this offseason. Red Sox fans don’t want to hear this, but there’s always a chance of a blockbuster that could send Betts and Price to the Dodgers. The Reds, Padres and Cardinals are also on the hunt for starting pitching and should have the payroll flexibility to add some.