It’s that time again, baseball is about to return. In Florida and Arizona, pitchers and catchers are reporting and games are about to be played. With baseball returning, the hope for the Boston Red Sox is if a certain someone is playing second base.
In an off-season surrounded by teams looking to improve, the Red Sox have focused on securing most of the pieces from their historic World Series run. With the depleted bullpen providing the biggest headline of the Spring, you wouldn’t think anything else would be worthy of a headline. You’d be wrong though, as another intriguing topic to watch will be the return of a Red Sox great for another crack at second base.
Guess who’s back again
Red Sox favorite Dustin Pedroia provides fans with a sense of hope that he can return to his full-season form and fight off father time yet again. After returning last season in a surprising comeback, Pedroia was once again hindered after only three games. Needing microfracture surgery and cartilage replacement in the same left knee that has hobbled him, his 13th season in the league was cut short not even halfway through July.
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While having a strong 2016 (.318 AVG/15 HR/74 RBI) before his knee problems started, Pedroia still managed to play in 105 games with a .293 AVG during the 2017 season. Battling multiple trips to the DL with left knee inflammation and a nagging wrist sprain, he also hit 7 home runs and 62 RBI with an OBP of .369.
Pedroia has been ahead of schedule and doing plenty of off-season rehabilitation as well once he listened to his trainer. Able to avoid any further surgeries this off-season, Pedroia has already begun to start running and is looking to regain is confidently looking at a return to second base.
Covering up second
With the departure of Ian Kinsler to the San Diego Padres, Pedroia gets the nod and chance to regain his position. While everyone hopes his injuries are behind him, in the chance it happens again the Red Sox have depth. With Eduardo Núñez and even Brock Holt available, either way, second base will be upgraded if he does, in fact, return to full form.
If “Pedey” can even get close to replicating his numbers from 2016, the potential for the offense will only increase from a record season. With questions surrounding the bullpen, this could be the answer we needed if he can stay healthy. Only time will tell how much playing time he will get this spring, if his knee holds up, and if he will still be the favorite to start Opening Day.
What will the future hold
As he continues to advance through rehab, the consensus will be that it’s his spot to lose. His salary though is a huge question with the current payroll near capacity. With his contract ending in 2021, Pedroia is set to make $40 million during that span.
Realizing the intent to sign the younger stars to retain their young core, his performance this season could determine his future with the team. If the need to shed some payroll comes into effect, Pedroia could find himself tagged out. Only time will tell and with the calendar rapidly turning to Opening Day, that time is fast approaching.