The Boston Red Sox have about $50 million invested in outfield candidates for 2015 – Hanley Ramirez ($19 million), Shane Victorino ($13 million), Rusney Castillo ($10.5 million), Allen Craig ($5.5 million), Daniel Nava (arbitration eligible), Mookie Betts (not yet eligible for arbitration) and Brock Holt (not yet eligible for arbitration).

So who will start?

The team’s response so far has been the usual: “These things work themselves out.”

Ramirez, Victorino, Castillo and Betts are the top candidates for everyday roles. When Manager John Farrell recently speculated on his lineup, he didn’t mention Victorino. Victorino told the Boston Herald the slight only motivates him. “Always have been the underdog,” he said.

Victorino, 34, is coming off back surgery. He played only 30 games last year. And even in 2013, when he contributed mightily to the World Series run, Victorino played only 122 games – and was encased in ice packs after those games.

Victorino is reportedly working his way into playing shape, but until the players are on the field, who knows?

If Victorino isn’t ready for the start of the season, then there likely will be no controversy – at least not right away. The outfield starters would likely be Ramirez in left, Castillo in center and Betts in right, with Craig, Nava and Holt as backups (all three can play other positions).

Even if Victorino is ready to go, he might not be an everyday player because of his injury history. And Ramirez has played in only 214 games over the past two seasons because of injuries, so he too will need to sit sometimes.

Farrell may have a juggling act on his hands. The fact that Ramirez, Castillo, Betts, Victorino and Craig are right-handed hitters (assuming Victorino doesn’t go back to switch hitting) only makes it more interesting.

BETTS MAY BE Boston’s top choice as a leadoff hitter, even if his salary won’t compare with the other guys’.

When Betts was in Portland last year, everyone marveled at his on-base percentage (.443). But he also stole 22 bases in 25 attempts. In the majors he stole safely 7 of 10 times and had a .368 OBP in 213 plate appearances. Among Red Sox regulars, only Mike Napoli (.370 OBP) had a higher on-base percentage. Betts will only get better on the basepaths with experience, according to first-base coach Arnie Beyeler, who compared him to a previous Red Sox leadoff batter and base stealer.

“He’s got that (Jacoby) Ellsbury kind of drive,” Beyeler said. “Really like the aggressiveness he brings out there. … He’s very receptive and very knowledgeable about reading pitchers and different counts and situations.

“He’s going to be a really good base stealer because of how he goes about it. Similar to what (Ellsbury) did. His success rate is going to be pretty good.”

Ask Betts about leading off and he shrugs.

“Whether it’s leadoff or ninth, I just want to crack the lineup,” he said.

BETTS AND Stephen Strasburg have been mentioned in the same sentence since the Nationals signed free-agent pitcher Max Scherzer. The Nationals have a surplus of starting pitchers, so naturally there is speculation of a trade.

Would the Nationals trade Strasburg, who won’t be a free agent until 2017? Would Boston dangle Betts as trade bait to get a top starter?

Obtaining a potential ace would be tempting. But would Boston deal Betts for two years of Strasburg (assuming he would then leave Boston, since he and agent Scott Boras will ask for the moon in free agency)?

If the Red Sox believe Betts is going to give them Ellsbury-like production for the next six seasons, they have to hold onto him.

THE BASEBALL Hall of Fame will finally be inducting a player who has worn a Portland Sea Dogs uniform.

John Smoltz is going to the Hall because of his performance with the Atlanta Braves, but he did made a brief appearance with the Red Sox in 2009. Leading up to his games with Boston, Smoltz made some minor league starts, including one with the Sea Dogs.

A Smoltz bobblehead giveaway at Hadlock Field seems a given.

A SEA DOGS cap will not be going with Smoltz to the Hall of Fame, but the cap has made it to national television.

As was reported in the Press Herald last week, the main character in the new Fox show “Backstrom” wears a Portland Sea Dogs cap.

Even though the show is set in the other Portland, the show’s producer said they did not mix up the cities. They wanted a nautically themed cap because the show’s main character owns a fishing boat.

The hat continues to be one of the best-selling items among all minor league merchandise. This kind of visibility can’t hurt.

SPEAKING OF bobbleheads, the Sea Dogs decided a while ago who will be honored in 2015. They are Christian Vazquez (June 2), Henry Owens (July 10) and Betts (Aug. 11) – another reason why the Red Sox can’t trade Betts.

THE SEA DOGS’ annual food drive/ticket deal ends Friday. Bring a nonperishable food item to Hadlock Field, and you can purchase two tickets for the price of one (or bring two items and get four tickets for the price of two, etc.). All food items will go to the Good Shepherd Food Bank.

NOTES: Former Sea Dogs All-Star Jared Sandberg (2005) was named manager of the Durham Bulls. … Former Sea Dogs catcher Blake Swihart is the No. 1 catching prospect in baseball, according to a recent ranking by mlb.com. The website compared Swihart to “a young Buster Posey.”