Pedroia established himself as a fan-favorite with this dirt dog mentality. The under-sized underdog kept grinding through early career struggles to break out as a star. He has as much heart and determination as any Red Sox player of this generation.
A strong work ethic has made Pedroia a great leader by example but when it comes to being a leader in the clubhouse, his abilities have come into question. The role was essentially forced on him in the wake of David Ortiz‘ retirement and Pedroia struggled to adjust to the responsibility during his one healthy season since then.
Deflecting blame during a bean-ball war with the Baltimore Orioles and egging on David Price’s embarrassing rant against Dennis Eckersley are examples that come to mind where Pedroia’s leadership have been questioned.
He has mostly stayed away from the team while recovering from multiple knee surgeries over the last two seasons, leaving the Red Sox to seek other leaders.
Ted Williams called Doerr the “silent captain” of the team. He played the game hard and had a great reputation as a player who helped build positive clubhouse chemistry.
Pedroia has been a capable leader in his own way but the advantage here clearly goes to Doerr.