With David Ortiz entering his final year, and young group of stars ready to take over, is it time to move Dustin Pedroia?
It is no secret that the Red Sox, despite a World Series victory in 2013, have struggled in recent years, finishing last in the American League East three out of the last four seasons.
Even though they have failed to meet the expectations of fans, the Red Sox are a team on the rise and, with a group of talented young players, they are sure to be playoff bound, if not this year, then next. The 2016 season will, most likely, be one of transition, as David Ortiz retires and hands over the reigns of the team to Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts.
With the exception of Ortiz, no Red Sox player has more embodied the spirit of Boston sports than Dustin Pedroia. Since he won the Rookie of the Year award in 2007, Pedroia has been a fan-favorite, solidifying his place in Red Sox history as a two-time World Series victor and one the team’s greatest second baseman.
In recent years, Pedroia has struggled with injuries, and played only 93 games in 2015. While in that time he was able to record a .291 batting average, twelve home runs, and 111 hits, his performance was preceded by a weak offensive year. In 2014, he had career lows in home runs (7), batting average (.278), and slugging percentage (.376).
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Heading into the 2016 season, Pedroia’s health is one the greatest question marks facing the team. Will he continue to suffer from last season’s hamstring injury? Or will he be the All-Star of years past? Either way, with the next generation of players poised to lead the team, it may be time for the Red Sox to thank Pedroia for his contributions, and move on.
With the end of the Ortiz-era must come new ways of doing things in Boston: a fresh mindset, renewed energy, and, as previously mentioned, the testing of their young leaders. If Big Papi was the president of the team’s dugout, then Pedroia was vice president, and if this team is to harness its young talent and transform into the next great Red Sox team, then a new administration must take over.
If Pedroia continues to struggle at the plate, then it will be a no-brainer to trade him. Despite offensive struggles, Pedroia has remained one of the MLB’s best defensive second baseman, winning a Gold Glove in 2013 and 2014. His talent as an infielder carries enough value to make him tradable at the end of the year.
Should he put up the offensive numbers he has in the past, then Pedroia, who will be thirty-three in August, will be an asset to any team in league, giving the Red Sox the chance to bring in another ace to complement David Price, or an offensive powerhouse to take the place of David Ortiz.
To replace Pedroia? Well, the Red Sox may look to, according to Keith Law, the league’s 17th best prospect: Yoan Moncada. When he signed a $31.5 million contract with the Red Sox in 2015, the young infielder from Cuba planned to be in the big leagues after a year in the minors. However, after spending all of last year in Single-A, it is clear that 2016 will, most likely, not be the year that Moncada has his Fenway debut. 2017, however, may be the year we get to see him in action.
Either way, as the Red Sox begin to reap the rewards of their prospects and young stars in the coming years, it is time that they thank the old stars for their service, and bring in the new tools that can help bring this team another championship.