The Boston Red Sox may have a problem if Dustin Pedroia is healthy enough to play. The problem is just where exactly do they place the veteran?
The baseball season is on hold with spring training slowly becoming summer training as the world has stopped spinning. For one baseball player on a quest, this may have surprising dividends for the Red Sox and Dustin Pedroia. I have lost count and possibly Pedroia has of the surgeries and the ill-fated comebacks.
Was Cervantes Don Quixote heroic or mad – just plain bonkers. Both could apply to Pedroia in his quest to return to the field. Many a player would have simply gone through the process required by the Collective Bargaining Agreement and drifted into retirement. But that is not Pedroia’s style. Pedroia loves to play, loves the ballpark, the fans, the adulation, and being able to get back to doing what he loves best.
The marching song for the 1967 Red Sox was “The Impossible Dream” from the stage production of Man of LaMancha. Is this a glorious quest as 1967 was? Or is it going to be an impossible dream and again failure?
The Red Sox are not relying on Pedroia who is now on the 60-day Injury List. They have stoked up with options at second base with the assumption that the de facto captain will not be available.
Possibly the only one on the planet that disagrees with this is Pedey himself. The two-stage plan is simply rehabilitation that will hopefully lead to redemption. Pedroia does not want his career to end with the pathetic statistical lines of 2018-19. Ego? No doubt a healthy dose.
Let’s say Pedroia is successful in his “glorious quest” then what? If the season is delayed deep into 2020 you will have a 37-year-old player who has played nine games in two seasons. A second baseman by trade and that position may be unlikely from a defensive standpoint and with the depth of younger players. Do you play a rusty 37-year-old or Michael Chavis?
If Pedroia is out of the loop then what? Third base? That seems to be the impossible dream with Rafael Devers firmly locked in at third. Devers is where Pedroia was in 2009. Top it off with third being a new position and even if Devers falls to injury (please, no!) or a performance nightmare you look elsewhere. And first base? Yes – there have been minute first basemen in the past but Boston has that position covered with veterans and youth.
The Pedroia options are fading and fading often means designated hitter where bats go to eventually die. Pedroia would make a splendid DH if Boston didn’t have the best in the business in J.D. Martinez. Martinez in the outfield (not a pleasing thought) could remedy that, but, again that is only if far too many pieces (all bad) fall into place.
What it comes down to is a Pedroia ready and rarin’ to go maybe on the outside looking in regarding a position. Would Boston attempt a trade? Pedroia could be comfortable with that providing he was 100% or close to it, had a place to play regularly, and the Red Sox were generous in picking up a considerable portion of his salary – a distasteful tactic of management of late.
The return of Pedroia would be welcomed and would also be a situation that would require hard decisions. The issue, of course, all hedges upon a recovery good enough to show Pedroia can resume a level of play commensurate with his being a lineup presence. Right now that appears unlikely.