Time to consider the unthinkable: trading Dustin Pedroia.
“Better to trade a player a year too early than a year too late.”
The quote is from Branch Rickey and it could well apply to Pedroia, who is now posting ordinary numbers compared to his past performance.
The power outage is apparent and has been for the last few seasosn. Some has been attributed to injuries, but just maybe, it is simple as a deterioration of skills. The “Laser Show” is now long gone as Pedroia ranks near the statistical basement among AL second baseman with regard to power production. Dead last in ISO is not Pedroia-like. No longer a slump, but a trend.
The former calling card of on-the-nose line drives has been replaced by prolonged hitless streaks. Jerry Remy made an astute observation the other night during a Pedroia at bat when Remy said he could see nothing mechanically wrong with his swing.
The figures have been presented many times. No need to regurgitate the numbers over the last few seasons that demonstrate a downward trend. What stands out to me is stolen bases and OOZ.
Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis used to joke about their speed and lack of base stealing credentials. Neither was noted for being a blazer, but Pedroia worked on that aspect of his game so that twenty steals became the standard. In 2014, that part of his game is gone. Is it a quickness-based decline? Does that same quickness translate to other parts of his game?
If you are a proponent of metrics, it has now shown in the field. Pedroia is still at the pinnacle of the defensive pack among AL second basemen. Or is he?
Pedroia’s UZR/150, RZR (Revised Zone Rating) and DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) are still the head of the class, but then comes that quickness factor.
In 2013 Pedroia had a league-best OOZ (Plays made outside zone) at 63;in 2014 it has sunk to ninth at 26. There are many factors that can contribute to OOZ, but Pedroia has consistently rung up OOZ numbers in the upper defensive tier and not the lower.
Pedroia is often mentioned for his quickness with hands and feet. Not much doubt about that, but maybe that is starting to erode and is impacting his entire game?
Pedroia has become an institution in Boston with his gritty style of play, outgoing personality, and clutch performances. Do you trade an institution? Branch Rickey would consider it.
I have followed baseball since 1952 and Pedroia is, flat out, my all-time Red Sox favorite, but it might be time to consider the unthinkable.