The ballad of the Red Sox and Dustin Pedroia
It’s been a long and winding road for the Boston Red Sox and Dustin Pedroia. The second baseman was drafted by the Sox back in 2004 and would eventually become the soul of the team. It wasn’t an overnight process and the veteran infielder has given his all to the game and franchise. Unfortunately, it was that determination and work ethic that has all but taken the game away from him.
After a dirty slide by Manny Machado back in 2017, Pedroia was never the same as his left knee as become a major hindrance. After failed comeback attempts in both 2018 and 2019, he decided to not push things in 2020.
It proved a wise choice as the season was delayed due to COVID and will now be a 60-game sprint to the postseason. Pushing himself to make a return just to hit another setback would all but end any hopes of a comeback, whatever may remain that is.
But before that knee could seemingly put an end to what could’ve been a Hall of Fame career, Pedey was one of the best in the game. He made his Red Sox debut in 2006 but would become an everyday player in 2007. During that rookie campaign, he’d become a tour de force in the postseason being a major factor in Boston winning the World Seris that year.
Add in a Rookie of the Year trophy and his debut season was complete. Pedroia would go on to win the AL MVP award the following season, kicking off a promising career. Fast-forward to 2020 and the Red Sox need to find a solution to their issues at second base. Since Pedey has become a non-factor, Boston has applied a long platoon of players to fill in, with no set resolutions.
That’s where Jose Peraza comes into the fold.
The Red Sox add Jose Peraza to the squad
We’ve seen some serious turnover at second base with the Red Sox recently but that could all change. This past offseason Chaim Bloom signed free-agent second baseman Jose Peraza to a one-year deal for 2020. However, Pedroia’s return is very doubtful and with no true options ready to take the job, this could lead to an extension being worked out for Peraza.
Peraza has spent his entire five-year career in the National League and will be getting his first taste of the AL in 2020. When looking at the roster there is little to no competition for Jose as far as what the Red Sox have on the 40-man. Michael Chavis held the fort down for Boston in 2019 and will likely become the backup to both Peraza and first-baseman Mitch Moreland in 2020.
Eventually second base will become the home of Jeter Downs, but Boston’s top prospect is still a couple of years away from joining the big club full-time. So what are the Red Sox to do while they await Downs? For me, Peraza is the answer to that question and he’s more than making that case so far in summer camp.
In today’s intrasquad game, Jose went 2-3 with a double, homer and 4 RBI. That’s one hell of a day at the plate and is a great insight at what the infielder is capable of offensively. The best part of having him on the roster is that he can also play third base and shortstop, giving Ron Roenicke a reliable player for when he needs to give guys a day off.
Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe captured Roenicke’s thoughts on Peraza after today’s game and he had nothing but positive things to say.
"“I didn’t realize he was this good defensively,” Roenicke said. “We’re really pleased with everything he’s doing.”"
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Having the backing of the manager is a major plus in favor of the second baseman and could mean big things for his future in Boston. Granted, Roenicke is only the manager until the end of the 2020 season as his current contract is set to expire at the end of the year. But we all know Bloom is a man that loves getting the most bang for his buck, hence extending Peraza beyond this year.
I’m a big fan of Jose and think his signing was a fantastic move by Bloom. He’s not only strong at the plate, but as I mentioned above, he can play multiple infield positions. Being versatile is the best way to give your career some longevity. Teams will always have more need for a utility player than one locked into a single position.
I don’t know if we’ll ever see Dustin Pedroia in a Red Sox uniform ever again but at this point, I just can’t see it happening. If it is something that becomes a reality, the moment may be fleeting. Jose Peraza offers Boston a solution to bridge the generations as they await the future in Jeter Downs. The future looks very bright for the Red Sox at second base and Peraza is the man to get them there.