Dustin Pedroia and the Red Sox have a decision to make
It’s been a long and painful road for Dustin Pedroia since that day in 2017 when his left knee with injured thanks to a dirty Manny Machado slide. Since then, the longtime Red Sox second baseman has only played in nine games over the last three seasons. Instead of being on the field with his teammates, his time has been filled with procedures, rehab, progress, and setbacks. It’s felt like for every good bit of news we’ve gotten about him something negative was quick to follow.
Yesterday afternoon, Pedroia was reinstated to Boston’s 40-man roster from the IL in a move that shouldn’t surprise many. Mainly, because anyone on the 45-day or 60-day IL has to be activated to the 40-man within five days of the World Series ending. What exactly that roster spot will turn into is the big question at hand as the Red Sox have plenty of work to do this offseason to be competitive in 2021.
Pedroia is in the last year of his current deal and has $12M coming to him. It’s been said by many that it looks as if the team will most likely release him in order to open up that roster spot. That sounds terrible on the surface, especially considering everything that Dustin has done for this organization, but there really isn’t any other option. Boston can’t afford to have a dead roster spot for 2021 with the team surely looking to buy this winter.
Yesterday it was also reported by the Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham that Pedroia and the Red Sox would meet in order to figure out the infielders playing future. Abraham points out that the goal for Boston would be to release Pedey and payout his remaining salary either in a lump sum or spread it out over multiple payments. Either way, his salary is already built into the budget for 2021 but getting his roster spot freed up is dire to this offseason.
For Pedroia, not only has that injured left knee taken away what was going to be a nice end to his time in Boston but it also took away what may have been a Hall of Fame bid.
He stormed onto the scene in 2007 where he was named AL Rookie of the Year while also being a big contributor to the Red Sox winning the World Series that year. He’s follow up on his debut season by winning the 2008 AL MVP Award. All in all, he’d also add multiple Gold Glove and All-Star nods along with a second World Series ring, Silver Slugger and DPOY.
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There wasn’t a single game in his Red Sox career where he left the field with a clean uniform. The ultimate teammate and the definition of a dirt dog. In fact, his “swim move,” sliding style into second base can be seen on a nightly basis throughout the league nowadays. Did somebody implore that tactic before Pedroia? Possibly, but he’s the first I can recall doing it frequently and having it be an actual part of his arsenal.
It’s tough as a fan to think about Pedroia having to hang ’em up but it’s been something I think most of us have been preparing ourselves for. I’ll never tell someone what to do with their career or what decisions to make in life, but after the numerous failed return attempts, it may be the right time. I won’t deny that when I saw Abraham’s report come across the newsfeed I felt happy. Pedey is easily my favorite player since Nomar Garciaparra and to see his time in Boston end this way was terrible.
In the end, I hope he gets his chance to say good-bye. I hope things are safe enough in the world that he can walk out to second base at Fenway Park with a mic in his hand and say farewell to Red Sox Nation. I’d love for him to get a similar treatment to Jason Varitek, David Ortiz, and Pedro Martinez and be brought into the organization in some fashion. When all is said and done, I hope that Dustin Pedroia knows that we’re all so thankful for how he played and for everything he did for this franchise.