The Boston Red Sox may have Dustin Pedroia back at second it 2019 or they may need a replacement. Who on the roster can do the job?
For Pedroia, this was a devastating season for a player of such intensity and for the team that surprisingly had several fill the glaring hole at second. What skips our minds is just how good a player Pedroia is – a .300 lifetime hitter. And in 2017, Pedroia hit .293 before finally succumbing to his tender knee.
With Pedroia, there is a small mountain of negatives that surface with the most immediate being $40 million owed through 2021. That is a financial hit for a player who may be done and the ranks of dead money are further expanded.
The next negative is a number that we all pay attention to and that is birthdays and the age designation. Pedroia is now 35-years-old and that is advanced years for a baseball player and more so for a player who plays the infield. That segues into the next negative – the injury.
Pedroia has spent more than a year attempting his rehabilitation from knee surgery and so far the results are not very promising. Just getting back onto the field is a basic beginning, but playing up to earlier standards – at least Pedroia’s four Gold Glove standards – is being rather remote. So Pedroia is faced with some hard decisions and so are the Red Sox.
Pedroia could become a contractual rarity and simply do a Gil Meche. Meche was a right-handed pitcher for the Kansas City Royals who choose to simply retire and forgo the last year of his contract – a $13 million gift to the Royals. Pedroia could do the same or reach a buyout agreement with the Red Sox and await his number being retired.
I doubt Pedroia is ready to fade into the sunset and fully expect him to give another effort for 2019 – never really discount Pedroia. But what if his skill set for second base is history? Pedroia could attempt another position and could certainly move to a less taxing position in the outfield, first base, or even designated hitter, but those options appear rather remote with such a settled team.
The assumption is also to consider the worst case and Pedroia has his career cut short by his knee woes similar to a recent Red Sox batting champion Bill Mueller. Just where do the Red Sox go to smooth over second base? This will look at the internal or existing options.