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March 24, 2009 at 12:37 PM

March 24 Fort Report: Battle for the 25th roster spot

The latest installment of the Fort Report brings you the skinny on the battle for the 25th spot on the Red Sox roster – the first base-corner outfield-pinch hitter role. The battle seems to be down to Brad Wilkerson, Chris Carter, and Jeff Bailey. Carter may be inching ahead for a few reasons, including his impressive offensive performance this Spring, his roster flexibility, and his 40-man status. However, Wilkerson's defensive superiority, his major league experience, and his ability to play some centerfield in a pinch are also keeping him in the running for the spot. Keep in mind that this spot will likely only be vacant until Mark Kotsay returns from the DL in early May. Additionally, there is also the possibility that two of these players could make the team temporarily if Brad Penny starts the season on the DL - until a fifth starter is needed on April 15. Here’s the tale of the tape:

Spring Training Offensive Stats
● Wilkerson - .128/.209/.308, 2 HR, 39 AB, 17/4 K/BB
● Carter - .353/.377/.706, 5 HR, 51 AB, 4/1 K/BB
● Bailey - .385/.500/.641, 1 HR, 39 AB, 5/7 K/BB

2008 Offensive Stats

● Wilkerson - .220/.308/.326 in 104 games for Seattle and Toronto;
Also played 3 games with Dunedin
● Carter - .300/.356/.515 in 121 games in Pawtucket;
Also played 9 games with Boston, hitting .333
● Bailey - .280/.390/.460 in 27 games for Boston;
.301/.405/.562 in 109 games for Pawtucket (International League MVP)

Spring Training Defensive Innings Played

● Wilkerson – 71 (36 in the OF, 35 at 1B)
● Carter – 85 (57 at 1B, 28 in the OF)
● Bailey – 62.1 (49.1 in the OF, 13 at 1B)

Defensive reputation

● Wilkerson is considered a strong defensive player at both 1B and in the OF
● Carter is considered a sub-par defensive player in the OF and at 1B
● Bailey is considered adequate defensively at both 1B and in the OF

Ability to play centerfield

● Wilkerson has played 7 games in centerfield since 2005. He played 92 games in center in 2005. He has played 3 games in centerfield for Boston this Spring (February 28, March 9, and March 21).
● Neither Carter nor Bailey can play center


● Wilkerson will turn 32 in June
● Carter will turn 27 in September
● Bailey will turn 31 in November

Major League Service Time

● Wilkerson – 7 years, 81 days
● Carter – 24 days
● Bailey – 61 days

Contract Status

● Wilkerson has two opt-outs in his contract: April 1 and June 15. He is signed to a minor league deal with a base salary of $400,000, but the deal could be worth up to $1.5-million if he reaches all of the incentives in the contract. He has no option years left, and is not presently on the 40-man roster (which has two open spots as of today).
● Carter is on the 40-man roster, will make the league minimum salary, and has two option years left.
● Bailey can opt out of his contract and become a free agent if he is not called up by July 15. He is on a minor league deal, and likely would make the league minimum salary if called up. He has two option years left. He is not presently on the 40-man roster.


● Wilkerson bats and throws lefty
● Carter bats and throws lefty
● Bailey bats and throws righty

Recent playing time

● Wilkerson hasn’t played in an A-Game since March 21. He has two hits in 29 at bats in March.
● Carter has been playing every day for the Sox lately. He’s hitting .346 with 5 home runs in March.
● Bailey has also played almost every day for the Sox lately. He’s hitting .364 in 33 at bats in March.