When you’re reigning world champs, your offseason is a bit different than everyone else’s. You’re trying to preserve or somehow improve upon what you already have so you can do it again next season; they’re scrambling to build teams that can attempt to beat yours.
The Red Sox haven’t had much to do this winter. World Series MVP Steve Pearce practically re-signed on the duck boat, and should’ve-been-co-MVP Nathan Eovaldi took a 4-year deal to stay nasty. Joe Kelly made the somewhat puzzling decision to go to the Los Angeles Dodgers, likely because he’d rather have a fat paycheck than continue playing for the winning side, as did Ian Kinsler, who will be slightly south of him in San Diego. Other than that, not much has been going on in Red Sox Nation other than endless celebrating. And I’m mostly fine with that because I’m incredibly confident in this team. But I do have a few nagging questions that keep poking their heads out of the sand. So let’s talk about them, starting with:
1. What’s going to happen with Dustin Pedroia?
The longest-serving member of the team has also been a big question mark for most of the last two seasons, and he still has three years and more than $40 million left on his contract. The Red Sox have maintained the stance that they are optimistic about him being a big active part of the 2019 season. Dave Dombrowski said in November, “we’re hopeful he’ll be ready for the season.” Hopeful.
But this is also the same Red Sox who said Pedroia would be back in May 2018. He returned in June, played three games, and went back on the DL for the remainder of the season, even returning to Arizona for a large portion of the summer and not traveling with the team.
There’s also the fact that the veteran second baseman had a second surgical procedure on his knee during the season, and the Sox did not disclose it until late fall, when they announced that he would be with the team for the postseason, but would be unable to play at all.
So forgive me for not taking the team at their word when they say that Pedroia will be back in fighting form this year. I want him to come back, and I want him to succeed; this is not an attack or criticism of him in any way. This is simply me being realistic.
Ian Kinsler took a deal with the Padres, which leaves the Sox with Brock Holt and Eduardo Nuñez, as well as Tzu-Wei Lin, Marco Hernandez, and Tony Renda. But Eduardo Nuñez has been open about his deficiencies at the position; his skill lies at third base. So the Red Sox can either pin their hopes on Pedroia, make Brock Holt their primary 2B rather than a utility man, or go out and sign one of the free agents still available. Marwin Gonzalez would likely be too pricy, but he’s not the only guy on the market: Asdrubal Cabrera, Derek Dietrich, Logan Forsythe, Josh Harrison, Yangervis Solarte, and Neil Walker are all still available. But I hope Pedroia, with the help of some of the other utility infielders, can make second base work this year. With a lot of the Red Sox star core players entering free agency in the next two years, it wouldn’t be optimal to have to add another free-agent contract to the payroll.
My hope is that the Red Sox are going into this season assuming Pedroia will not be ready and that they will prepare for that possibility in some way. Better to be pleasantly surprised than left hanging out to dry.
2 thoughts on “Red Sox Offseason To-Do List: Dustin Pedroia or ?”
Let me start off by putting it bluntly, that the Red Sox need Dustin Pedroia in every part of this game. Pedroia has been way over looked lately, due to injury, false understanding of said injury, and the Sox winning the World Series “without him”.
Pedroia has been an elite top 10 second baseman just about his whole careee thus far. When he tore his knee in 2017, he still batted around 300 for the majority of the year and finished with an 101+ OPS. Now that was with one leg. People acted as if he wasn’t to be seen in 2017, and that’s false.
The misconception of his injury is a big one. When Pedroia came back in May, just SIX months post surgery, he was trying to play through his healing like he was told by his surgeon that he may because of his small/light statue. He wasn’t “expected” to be back in 2018 by any means. That was all Pedroia trying to play through it, once again. It takes a full YEAR plus some, to completely recover from any knee surgery for that matter. For a majority of the fans to actually think he was supposed to come back just 6 months after surgery is foolish. That’s impossible. But you can’t tell that to Pedey.. The Sox didn’t say it would take the full year because you could bet 100% that Pedroia wanted to try to play through the recovery like his surgeon said he may. When that didn’t work out, he had to wait the full year. This caused many fans to freak out & think he has some sort of ‘set back’ and that wasn’t the case at all.
Then came the follow up procedure in July or whenever it was. With the surgery Pedroia had, there is an 80% chance that you need a scope to cleanup the knee, usually months after the initial procedure. Something like 60-70% of the patients have had to have it. It is normal with this procedure. It by no means, means that something was wrong, etc.
Anyone with this surgery would need a year out.
Rewind to last October, Pedroia was told that this surgery would enable him to get back to normal, 100%, his old self. Pedroia reiterating this meant diving, running, landing on the knee, and all of the above. Fast forward to today, and this remains true. He just needed the year to recover.
On another note, say this wasn’t the case & Pedroia couldn’t play, Brock Holt still would not be the everyday second baseman. Brock has shown in the past that he isn’t as good when he plays everyday. He is a utility player. If Pedroia weren’t able to play, we would sign someone, or use Holt, Nunez, Hernandez, Lin, combined. Now yes, Brock had a decent 2018 filling in for Pedroia, but he couldn’t and wouldn’t be able to do that full time. Brock Holt just isn’t an everyday day player.
Pedroia means so much to this team on and off the field, and per the words of Brock Holt, since were talking about him too, this team is “run by Pedroia”. Pedroia is the leader of this team & is the epitome of everything you want in a player and teammate. The Sox want nobody else but him standing at second base every night.
If what the Sox and Pedroia have been reiterating for the past year and few months of him expected to be back to his old self holds true, then the Sox are about to become 75% more dangerous than last year. Think about that. Stats have Pedroia as the best defensive second baseman, and he’s also one of the Sox’ best hitters, & most important players all around. Having a healthy Pedey back would pretty much be as fulfilling as another trophy in 2019, & might as well get one.
I apologize for this being so long, as I am just growing sick and tired of people bashing Pedroia for being hurt (not you).