Red Sox

Ron Roenicke: Ryan Weber likely to be a part of Red Sox rotation

Ron Roenicke: Ryan Weber likely to be a part of Red Sox rotation

The Boston Red Sox have a couple of holes in the back end of their starting rotation. But it looks like at least one of them has been filled for the time being.

The Red Sox may rely on Ryan Weber as a part of their rotation, at least to begin the season. Ron Roenicke virtually confirmed this fact on Monday.

"I think Weber has shown -- whether he’s going to be a fourth starter, fifth starter or an opener, and what happens with Chris [Sale] --  I think he’s a guy we feel like can do it," Roenicke said of Weber, per WEEI's Rob Bradford. "The other guys we’ve extended out, I wouldn’t say anybody has shown us, hey, they can do it. I think when we brought them into camp, we felt like their history, they have a chance to do that. So as we go farther in camp and figure out - right now we have two spots with Chris not throwing right now, we have two spots where we give guys an opportunity to do it. Hopefully, we see something."

LIVE stream the Celtics all season and get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App.

This isn't too big of a surprise, as Roenicke spoke highly of Weber earlier during spring training. So far this February and March, Weber has logged seven strikeouts in five scoreless innings for the Red Sox. If he can get stretched out and continue to produce, he will be a solid option for the team.

That said, there's no guarantee that will happen. Weber had a 2-4 record with a 5.09 ERA for the Red Sox last season and late in the year, he really struggled, logging a 12.71 ERA in his final five appearances. But perhaps the 29-year-old has turned the corner and will pitch more like he did at the beginning of last year when he allowed just two runs in his first 14 innings pitched.

In reality, the more concerning part of Roenicke's statement is the latter half of it. If nobody else steps up as a fifth starter, the team will have to rely on openers to carry them. And while that could work fine, the lack of depth behind potential openers quickly could become a problem for the Sox.

We'll soon see if the Red Sox can piece together a rotation. For now, though, they seem to be confident in Weber. So until he gives them a reason not to trust him, he'll likely be a part of the starting rotation.

Lou Merloni destroys MLB, players for bickering over 2020 return plan

Lou Merloni destroys MLB, players for bickering over 2020 return plan

As the NBA, NHL, NFL and MLS prepare to resume play in the near future, Major League Baseball still can't get out of its own way.

MLB reportedly rejected the Players Association's proposal Wednesday for a 114-game season in 2020 and apparently doesn't plan to make a counter-offer.

The league and the players have refused to budge on the issues dividing them: Players don't want to take an additional pay cut after agreeing to prorated salaries in March, while the owners are wary of extending the season too long due to the coronavirus pandemic and want players to agree to further reduced salaries to mitigate lost revenue.

Get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App

That stalemate has cost MLB valuable time, however, as the league doesn't appear close to beginning its 2020 regular season as the calendar turns to June.

So, who's to blame here? Lou Merloni believes it's everyone involved.

The former Boston Red Sox infielder ripped into both the league and the union Wednesday night during an appearance on NBC Sports Boston.

"Both sides suck, OK? That's the bottom line," Merloni said. "The Players Association comes back and says, 'Not 82 (games), we want 114' when they know that's the non-starter. The owners don't want to sit there and play until November. They're worried about the pandemic; they've got to get the playoffs in. And then the owners come back and say we're not even going to counter?

"Jesus, we're like a month into this thing. Can you string this thing out (any longer)? How about go in one room together and try to figure this out in a day or two?"

Compounding MLB's issue is that the NBA is expected to announce a return-to-play plan Thursday that would resume the 2019-20 season in late July. The MLS and NHL also have made headwinds toward resuming their seasons this summer -- which means baseball is wasting a much-needed opportunity to showcase itself as the only active pro sports league.

"I mean, you're running out of time and you're only screwing yourself. Even if baseball does come back, people have already said, 'I've had enough of you.' It's been like a month, a year, and you guys talk and bitch about this thing publicly. I don't give a crap anymore. I've got hockey, basketball, football is around the corner, hell, soccer is around the corner. I'm good.

"They don't even realize it! It's like they're in this bubble and they don't even realize what's going on around them right now. Figure this thing out: 70 games, 65, prorated (salaries), start playing some baseball, because your ass better be first coming back. If not, people are going to be done."

There's reportedly some optimism that the players and the union will resolve their differences and put a return plan in place. But with nearly one-third of the season already lost, the clock is ticking.

Check out Merloni's full comments in the video player above.

Who are the best designated hitters in Red Sox history? Ranking the Top 5

Who are the best designated hitters in Red Sox history? Ranking the Top 5

There's only one choice for best designated hitter in Red Sox history, but just in case there's any doubt, we'll quote broadcaster Dave O'Brien with the signature call from his WEEI days: "DAVID ORTIZ! DAVID ORTIZ! DAVID ORTIZ!"

No sense in even pretending there's any suspense on this one.

What's fascinating about ranking the Red Sox DHs, however, is just how few of them have actually held down the position for any length of time over the years.

Get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App

Only nine players have made at least 200 appearances there with the Red Sox since the DH was introduced in 1973, and four of them — Carl Yastrzemski, Jim Rice, Dwight Evans, and Manny Ramirez — have already appeared elsewhere in our outfield rankings.

That leaves five men to fill out the list, and about the only difficult omission is slugger Jose Canseco, who made 184 appearances between 1995 and 1996.

Click here for the Top 5 DHs in Red Sox history.