It appears the Red Sox second baseman will be giving it one more shot in 2020.
After an injury in Yankee stadium last season, it seemed like the storied Red Sox career of Dustin Pedroia might be reaching the end. While dealing with chronic knee injuries, the veteran sat out the remainder of the 2019 season in which he watched his teammates fall prey to the dreaded “World Series hangover” and fail to reach the postseason.
In that time, the Red Sox have hired a new leader – Chaim Bloom formerly of the Tampa Bay Rays. The young Chief of Baseball Operations has already spoke with the veteran Pedroia and has drawn the conclusion that his playing days in Boston aren’t over just yet.
While there are plenty of fans that are ready to turn the keys over to Michael Chavis, Marco Hernandez, and company, it’s important to remember the financial constraints that Pedroia’s eight year contract brings. He’s going to remain under contract until 2022, whether he’s on the field, or not. There’s plenty of reason to believe that Pedroia is going to do everything in his power to get back on the field, but he’s going to be owed that money regardless. If he’s able to produce at Major League average, that’s good news for the Red Sox unlike paying Pablo Sandoval to play for the San Francisco Giants.
In terms of on-field production, the every day playing time of Dustin Pedroia is likely over. When healthy, he will provide value, but Chavis showed plenty to assume that he’ll be ready to take over when called upon. The Red Sox could deploy the veteran as a 2B / DH combination that would allow him to get on the field when producing, while allowing their younger players to continue to get the necessary playing time. However, if the Sox allow Mitch Moreland to depart in the coming weeks, it’s possible that Chavis would shift to 1B and allow for Pedroia to exist in a platoon with Marco Hernandez / Brock Holt (if re-signed). If Pedroia were able to appear in 75-100 games in the upcoming season, that would be considered a massive win.
The topic of Dustin Pedroia has been polarizing for the past couple of seasons. There are those that believe Pedroia can return to pre-surgery MVP form, while others clamor for his retirement on every possible discussion forum. It’s important to find a middle ground and establish an understanding of who the veteran is now, and what his strengths are. He’s a grind-it-out, old school type of player that can become a critical mentor in the development of Michael Chavis, and other young players, while similarly finding ways to produce on the field. Joe Mauer of the Minnesota Twins established a similar role at the conclusion of his career, and there’s no reason why the Red Sox couldn’t mirror this in Boston.
It was an unfortunate turn of events for a beloved Red Sox player, but he’ll look to get back on the field for his teammates, his city, and his organization in 2020. Father time is undefeated, but Dustin Pedroia will look to fend him off for a couple of more seasons.