There’s no way to sugarcoat how badly the Red Sox have been playing lately. Since the beginning of August, they are 13-30 as part of a terrible stretch that has extended for far too long. Injuries, ineffectiveness (particularly with starting pitching), and bad management has taken its toll on the team in the Red Sox’ worst season in well over a decade. However, one bright spot down the stretch has been the play of three veterans, two of whom will be pining for extensions this winter: Jacoby Ellsbury, Cody Ross, and Dustin Pedroia.
After a slow start to the season, Jacoby Ellsbury dislocated his shoulder in a game against the Rays and was out until just before the All-Star Break. After coming off the Disabled List, he got off to a similarly slow start and was displaying none of the power he showed in his 30-30 season last year. However, he’s been much better of late and has batted .293 with a home run and 3 stolen bases in his last 10 games. This turn of fortune is a show of confidence for the elite center fielder as 2013 will be Ellsbury’s contract year. With Scott Boras being Ellsbury’s agent, a contract extension may be very expensive and unlikely– but if they could lock him up without it being a total rip off, it would probably be worth it.
Normally, good play from Dustin Pedroia would be pretty much a given. However, the elite second baseman got off to a disappointing start to the season due to some thumb problems aggravated by a diving stop. Lately, though, the 29 year old Pedroia has been on a tear. In his last 10 games, Pedroia is batting .389 with 3 home runs, 5 RBIs, and 3 stolen bases and is batting .360 with 6 home runs and 9 steals since the start of August. Pedroia still has a few years left on his contract and won’t be lobbying for an extension anytime soon, but he has brought his season numbers up to .295/.351/.461 and thus avoided his first bad year in the majors.
Although to statistical gurus, it may have been a match made in heaven, Cody Ross didn’t have terribly high expectations heading into this season with the Boston Red Sox. He had signed a 1 year/$3 million contract the previous offseason and had only batted .240/.325/.405 the previous year in San Francisco. Almost right from the start, Ross was tearing the cover off the ball and lately has been no exception. He is up to .277/.341/.506 with 21 home runs and 74 RBIs and it’s looking like that contract may have been the steal of the offseason.