Let’s put on our rose-colored glasses, shall we?

What happens if Jackie Bradley Jr. shows his offense is major-league ready …

And Allen Craig returns to his hitting-machine form …

And Mookie Betts continues to be an on-base machine in the majors …

And shortstop Deven Marrero’s bat matches his ability with the glove …

And slugging outfielder Bryce Brentz stays healthy …

And all of Boston’s left-handed pitching prospects prove to be the real deal …

And on and on.

Boston has collected so many players, albeit many of them with the “potential” tag, including the recent addition of 19-year-old Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada, whom Boston invested $63 million to obtain.

What happens if all these players work out? General Manager Ben Cherington could be dealing with a wonderful problem.

Cherington’s depth chart is amazingly deep. Granted there are a lot of ifs and buts. Still, the odds are ever in the Red Sox’ favor.

The unofficial depth chart:


Christian Vazquez, 24, with only 55 games of major league experience, is being counted on now. He may be the best all-around defensive catcher Boston has had in decades. And his offense shows promise to improve, despite a .240 average/.617 OPS (combing one-base and slugging percentage) last year.

Ryan Hanigan, 34, signed as the veteran backup to Vazquez. Signed through 2016 (option for 2017). Could be traded after this year if Blake Swihart is ready.

Blake Swihart, 22, considered by many as Boston’s top prospect (after Moncada). Swihart throws out runners with the frequency of Vazquez. Plus he is a legitimate switch-hitting threat at the plate.

First base

Mike Napoli, 33, provides right-handed power and is in the final year of his contract.

Daniel Nava, 32, a versatile utility player, used more in the outfield. Switch hitter but much better hitting left. While he “slumped” last year, he still batted .270 (.293 left-handed) with a .346 on-base percentage. Not eligible for free agency until 2018.

Allen Craig, 30, appears to be the odd man out here, although he is signed through 2017 (option for 2018). Batted .315 in 2013 but slumped horribly last year. With a hot spring, could force his way onto the Red Sox roster or bring back value in a trade.

Travis Shaw, 24, was promoted from Portland last year and played 81 games in Pawtucket (.262/.752 OPS). Shows a knack for improving at each level. He may be a long shot, but Shaw was only recently put on the 40-man roster so the Red Sox have time with him.

TBA: Several other names have been speculated for first base, presumably if Napoli leaves after this year. They include Pablo Sandoval, Hanley Ramirez and Garin Cecchini.

Second base

Dustin Pedroia, 31, is signed through 2021 so there is little need to fret over the depth at second, unless Pedroia is injured. He did miss 27 games last year and 21 in 2012.

Mookie Betts, 22, is a nice luxury to have. Now considered an outfielder, his natural position is at second, where he could slide in if needed (which he did at the end of last season).

Brock Holt, 26, proved to be the ultimate utility player last year, playing 106 games (.281 average)

Sean Coyle, 23, is a talented player who may have to move to another position to reach Boston (but what position?). Coyle was recently placed on the 40-man roster,


Xander Bogaerts, 22, had his difficulties in his first full season (.240/.660), but his ability is obvious and the Red Sox are committed to him. He won’t be a free agent until 2020.

Deven Marrero, 24, has always been considered a player with an average bat and a magical glove. Broke out with .291/.804 numbers in Portland last season, then slumped in 50 games in Pawtucket (.210/.545). Marrero remains a reasonable option if Bogaerts somehow does not work out. Not yet on the 40-man roster.

Brock Holt (see second base).

Third base

Pablo Sandoval, 28, arrives on a five-year deal with an option for 2020.

Brock Holt (see second base).

Yoan Moncada, 19, is on a minor league contract (although he may be the richest minor leaguer in baseball). Boston does not have to rush him. A middle infielder in Cuba, he reportedly projects to move elsewhere.

Garin Cecchini, 23, has always been a hitting/on-base dynamo but slipped last year in Pawtucket (.263/.712). Given his history, he will likely rebound. There are also questions about his ability to play third base, maybe forcing a move to first base or left field. Begins his second year on the 40-man roster.

Rafael Devers, 18, is one of the youngsters to watch after batting .322/.910 in the rookie leagues as a 17-year-old last season. If he develops as expected, could be ready for the majors in four years.


Shane Victorino, 34, is in the final year of his contract and is a question because of his health. Even in his productive 2013, he played only 122 games.

Hanley Ramirez, 31, has never played the outfield. But Boston is betting $88 million and a four-year contract (with a fifth-year option) that he can.

Rusney Castillo, 27, seems to be younger because he just signed last August. Boston believes he will be polished enough to play now. Has six years (and $67 million) left on his contract.

Mookie Betts, 22, is a converted infielder. While it looks like he may have trouble cracking the lineup, he could be Boston’s best option as a leadoff batter, so the Red Sox need to make room.

Daniel Nava (see first base).

Allen Craig (see first base).

Jackie Bradley Jr., 24, could become Boston’s greatest center fielder if (and that’s a capital I-F) he hits. Bradley’s defense is unquestioned. But he hit .198/.530 in 127 major league games last year, a far cry from his combined Salem/Portland numbers in 2012: .315/.911.

Bryce Brentz, 26, could be a coveted power hitter (one homer every 22 at-bats in the minors), if he can stay healthy. Played only 145 games over the past two years in Triple-A. He is in his second year on the 40-man roster.

Manuel Margot, 20, is similar to Devers, the third baseman. Could be great but it’s still too early to say. Batted a combined .293/.818 in Class A last year. Will likely reach Portland sometime this year and go on the 40-man roster after the season. Then the clock starts ticking.

Brock Holt (see second base).

TBA: Cecchini has played some left field in Pawtucket. Other infielders will likely give it a try (Coyle?).

Designated Hitter

David Ortiz, 39, keeps quieting the critics who say he is getting old and will slow down. He hit 35 home runs last year. After this season, he has two option years left on his contract that could become guaranteed if he stays healthy and in the lineup.

TBA: Once Ortiz leaves, the DH spot opens up for lineup flexibility (Sandoval, Ramirez, Nava and even Swihart could get in some extra swings).

Starting Pitchers

Clay Buchholz, 30, is in the final year of his contract, but the Red Sox hold options for the following two seasons.

Wade Miley, 28, just signed a three-year deal with Boston with an option for 2018.

Joe Kelly, 26, is not eligible for free agency until 2019.

Rick Porcello, 26, is in the final year of his contract. If he has a solid 2015, he will be very expensive.

Justin Masterson, 29, signed a one-year deal with Boston, hoping to improve his free-agent status.

Steven Wright, 30, will begin the year in Pawtucket. But you never know when a knuckleball pitcher will come in handy. This is his last year with minor league options.

TBA: The Red Sox traded three young arms (Rubby De La Rosa, Allen Webster and Anthony Ranaudo) and still have plenty of depth in Triple-A (Eduardo Rodriguez, Matt Barnes, Edwin Escobar, Henry Owens, Brian Johnson) and beyond (Trey Ball and Teddy Stankiewicz in Class A).


This is a mix here. Veterans: Koji Uehara (signed for two years), Edward Mujica, Junichi Tazawa and Craig Breslow; Younger arms: Alexi Ogando, Robbie Ross, Anthony Varvaro and Brandon Workman; and possible contributors: Zeke Spruill, Tommy Layne and Heath Hembree.

TBA: Some of the starting prospects could certainly give the pen a try, including Barnes, who made a few appearances last year.

ONE FINAL NOTE about the depth: There are only six guaranteed free agents after 2015 (unless they re-sign): Napoli, Victorino, Porcello, Masterson, Mujica and Breslow. Most of the players listed above could be under Boston’s control for several years.

A strong foundation?

One-word answer: If.