Red Sox add Sedan Raffaella to Opening Day roster
Red Sox add Sedan Raffaella to Opening Day roster

“I was kind of nervous. I didn’t know what was going to happen at that moment. I’ve been waiting for it all spring. I was obviously excited [for the news],” said Rafaela, who called his parents, wife and brother after receiving information. “To see [offseason] work pays off, obviously good. But I have to keep working, keep getting better. I want to have a long season until October.”

Cora praised Rafaela for his work in the offseason and spring training.

“He’s very dynamic, athletic, versatile, and he’s just a good kid,” Cora said. “He’s going to get a lot of at-bats and he’s going to play center a lot of the time. I believe he makes us better, more dynamic. … It should be fun to watch him go out and perform.”

At the end of 2023, Rafaela’s undisciplined offensive approach in the big leagues made it look like he might need more offensive seasoning in Triple A to start this season. But in the end, the Sox — the worst defensive team in baseball last year — viewed Rafaela’s glove as a difference-maker and believed its value outweighed the inevitable offensive volatility of a rookie moving up to the big leagues.

“If we don’t play [better] protection, then we will be in the same place [as 2023]. With him in center field, him at second, him at short, we’re going to be good defensively,” Cora said. “[As a hitter] this is not the final product. We know that. He knows it. But a player’s development isn’t over at Triple A.”

Anderson added

With their five-man rotation set for the season opener, the Red Sox nonetheless wanted to improve their depth with some inning relief that could also help them as a starter. They filled that spot by reaching an agreement on a major league deal with a veteran right fielder Chase Anderson.

Anderson, 36, was at JetBlue Park on Saturday to finalize his deal. He spent parts of 10 seasons in the big leagues, forging a 59-56 record and 4.35 ERA, mostly as a starter. He pitched to a 1-6 mark and 5.42 ERA with the Rockies and Rays last year and was in Pirates camp as a minor league free agent this spring.

In 11 Grapefruit League innings this spring, Anderson had a 2.45 ERA with nine strikeouts and three walks in a four-inning stretch. He exercised his right to opt out of his deal with the minor league Pirates on Friday and Pittsburgh released him, opening the door for Anderson to sign with the Sox.

While the Red Sox are encouraged by the potential of the five-man rotation Brian Bello, Nick Pivetta, Cutter Crawford, Gareth Whitlockand Tanner Hawkthey acknowledged their concerns about their big-league-ready starting depth. Cooper Criswell will open the year in Triple A.

“I would like to add more depth. After maybe six, seven starting pitchers, there’s a gap in terms of who we think is ready if needed in the beginning,” Chief Baseball Officer Craig Breslow said recently. “We have to constantly scour the landscape and try to accumulate more.”

I’m going to the bull pen

Josh Winkowski will contribute a bullpen role with several innings in the big leagues. Cora’s message to the right-hander, who was disappointed he wasn’t given a chance to start? “We expect you to dominate,” Cora relayed. Winckowski wears a brace on his right ankle. He said he was on the field with a bone chip, but it was discovered too late this offseason for him to undergo surgery, undergo three months of rehab and be ready for the season. He will address it this year — as he did in 2023 when he was undiagnosed — and expects to deal with it next offseason. . . The final shape of the pitching staff will likely remain unsettled until the Sox get to Texas for a pair of exhibition games. But there are two decisions to make before they leave Fenway South: whether to add a first baseman CJ Cron or left-handed Joel Rodriguez to the list. Both exercised opt-out clauses in their minor league agreements on Friday, giving the Sox until Sunday to add them or let them leave as free agents. If Cron is not added, Bobby Dahlbeck likely to earn that bench role. Cora praised Dahlbeck for a “great spring.” Dalbec has played first, third and the outfield while hitting .250/.353/.477. . . Cora informs the outside player Jarren Duran that he will be on the Opening Day roster for the first time in his career.

Alex Speier can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him @alexspeier.

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