The Boston Red Sox have an issue at second base with the mystery surrounding the future of Dustin Pedroia. What can they do to remedy the situation?
We’re in the offseason Red Sox Nation and there’s a mess of things going on behind the scenes. Yeah, the playoffs are happening but the Sox aren’t involved so they don’t mean much to Boston. There are enough things to worry about within the organization without paying attention to October baseball. One issue that needs to be addressed this offseason is who will be covering second base in 2020.
Long-time second baseman Dustin Pedroia is still recuperating from his most recent procedure and has been away from the team for much of 2019. He tried to make a comeback in April but to no avail.
He and the team then decided it was time to take a break from the rehab schedule so he could clear his mind and get well. Dustin would rejoin the team for a short stint in Colorado for a visit and was still very unsure of what was in his future.
To cover the vacant lineup spot the Red Sox used a battery of infielders while never truly settling on one. At times we saw Michael Chavis, Brock Holt, and Marco Hernandez working second base. Each would have their moments but none of the above would ever truly be appointed as the heir apparent. With Pedroia still looming over the position and the budget, I’m not sure if they’ll name a true replacement until their hand is forced.
Holt is now a free agent and despite his love for the city of Boston and the organization he wasn’t offered an extension heading into the year. He’s expressed on numerous occasions that he’d love to finish his playing days in a Red Sox uniform but it’s feeling less likely as each day goes by. To me, he’s the first solution to the problem.
His salary wouldn’t be much of anything as he only made $3.58M this year. The front office could easily work a sweetheart deal to keep him in Boston for the remainder of his career on the cheap. Something along the lines of a 4-year/$20M would be perfect. Add in his versatility as a utility guy and that’s a steal for the Red Sox.
Chavis was an early-season call-up and provided a massive spark to the Red Sox upon his arrival. The Ice Horse quickly began smacking dingers and flashing the leather in the field on the way to early ROTY talks. Eventually, the injury bug would find him as well and he’d miss the last weeks of the season due to shoulder and abdominal injuries.
When he was healthy though he showed to be more than capable covering second while also providing energetic offense. Considering he never played second base prior to this season he instilled confidence in Alex Cora and the fans that he has the abilities. He just needs to lay off that high fastball, and we’ll be set.
Hernandez has been in the Red Sox system for quite some time and before the days of Mookie Betts and Rafael Devers, he was pegged to be the next big thing. Marco has been hindered by injuries for much of his time in Boston and never really got his true shake with the big club. This was his chance to show what he could do and he succeeded in my eyes.
He finished the season with a .250/.279/.338/.617 slash line, and though it’s not off the charts it was still good for a guy that was promoted and demoted multiple times in 2019. During his time on the main roster, he also showed a penchant for being clutch when the Red Sox needed him the most.
Marco made a cool $564K this past season and much like Chavis would be a very inexpensive solution to replacing Pedroia.
The biggest issue that the Red Sox are facing going into the 2020 season is the budget. Though they can afford to pay the CBT penalty for a third year in a row they sure as hell don’t want to. Ownership has come out and stated that the goal is to get as close to the $208M threshold to reset the penalty clock. One way they can do that is to get with Dustin and find a way to re-work his contract.
I don’t know what they’d need to do to achieve that, whether it be to make him a coach and pay him less or just pay him off to leave and try a comeback elsewhere. They can’t afford to keep throwing money into the bonfire that is the payroll to have him attempt comebacks just for them to fail.
I love Dustin Pedroia and am beyond thankful for his time in Boston but $31M to play nine games in the last two seasons is ridiculous. He’s also on the hook for $13M for 2020.
That money could not only go towards players that can perform each and every day as well as the eventual offer for Betts next winter. I appreciate the loyalty from the Red Sox for Pedroia but they need to find a way to move on. He’s set to make $25M the next two seasons with almost zero likelihood of playing.
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As far as in-house options to replace Dustin it’s clear that Marco Hernandez should be the top dog. He did more than enough to prove he can play the role when called upon. Chavis did very well in his time playing second but with Steve Pearce and Mitch Moreland now being free agents, I see the Ice Horse moving to his more natural position at first.
My ultimate dream would be for the Red Sox to re-sign Brock in free agency. His salary wouldn’t cripple the budget goals they have and he’s a tried and true member of this roster. Beyond what he can do on the field he’s also a major part of the Boston community that will surely feel his loss if he leaves. Offer Holt a reasonable salary to play second and sub in Marco if necessary then slide Chavis over to first.
The Red Sox have a hell of an offseason on their hands and it feels like there are more questions than answers at the moment. With the weight of the budget cuts and free agency on the shoulders of a make-shift front office, I’m not sure what they’ll do.
If I was in the hot seat I’d bring back Brock Holt with Marco Hernandez and Michael Chavis as a backup. It keeps the budget low and allows three strong players to remain in the lineup.
Dustin Pedroia is a Red Sox legend and I have no doubt that his number will one day be up in the rafters of Fenway Park. His time has come and gone though and unfortunately for everyone, injuries robbed us of what was a great career. It’s time that the Red Sox move on from Pedey and name his replacement. They’re transitioning to a new era for the organization and it’s time to do so on all fronts.