After his health status for 2019 was uncertain, Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia will not require knee surgery this offseason.
As the longest-tenured player currently on the Boston Red Sox, Dustin Pedroia has been a staple in the organization. While he can be an impact player when healthy, his inability to stay on the field in recent years has seemingly outweighed his contributions. The 2018 season raised even more concerns about Pedroia’s future, as he only managed to play in three games.
Despite a lot of frustration surrounding the 35-year-old, we learned on Monday that Pedroia will not need to undergo surgery on his left knee this offseason.
Dave Dombrowski was candid regarding the team’s plan for Pedroia, telling MLB.com’s Ian Browne that he will continue rehab and therapy through the middle of next month. Dombrowski also went on to say he “will get back into exercising, more physical activities other than the therapy at that point.” Pedroia is expected to start running in January with the hopes that he’ll be healthy for Spring Training.
The Red Sox acquired Ian Kinsler at the 2018 trade deadline to fill part of the gap left by Pedroia’s absence. Kinsler played 37 games with the Red Sox, and although he only hit .242 with a .602 OPS during the regular season, he did capture his second Gold Glove Award.
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Pedroia is currently entering his sixth year of an eight-year, $110 million contract. While he managed to play 292 total games during 2014 and 2016 combined (including playoffs), he’s only played in 205 total games during 2015, 2017, and 2018 combined (including playoffs). The Red Sox still owe him an additional $40 million.
While this is good news for Red Sox fans, it also has to be taken cautiously. We’ve seen Pedroia enter seasons healthy before, only to have a previous injury re-aggravated or a new injury arise. After all, he is 35 years old and on the back end of an illustrious career. Should everything work out moving forward, Pedroia will find his way back to second base. Where he hits in the order though will be a bridge Alex Cora will have to cross when he gets there.
The Red Sox will have depth at second base should Pedroia experience setbacks. Eduardo Nunez has already exercised his 2019 team option, and Brock Holt could see regular action in that spot depending on matchups. Both Tzu-Wei Lin and Marco Hernandez will likely begin the 2019 season on the 40-man roster as well.
Dombrowski’s optimism regarding Pedroia points to the Red Sox staying put on any moves for another second baseman this offseason. It looks as if the team believes in Pedroia’s current health status enough to work him through rehab and therapy with the hope he starts on Opening Day.
When fully healthy, Pedroia can still help an already formidable offense, and there is no question what he brings to the table defensively. In 2016 he played 154 games, hitting .318 with 15 home runs, 74 RBIs, and 284 total bases, his highest total since his 2008 MVP season.
This is a good start in what should be a very meticulous, regimented process to get healthy this offseason. We’ll be monitoring Pedroia’s status closely, and if all signs are good to go for Spring Training, he’ll look to reach the same form he had in 2016.