On Monday, the Boston Red Sox traded for second baseman Ian Kinsler, likely ending the 2018 season for Dustin Pedroia. What is next for the Red Sox legend?
After a solid 2017 season, Dustin Pedroia hasn’t had the 2018 season he had been hoping for. After starting the season on the disabled list due to left knee surgery he underwent in October of 2017, Pedroia returned to the Boston Red Sox lineup for just three games in May before going back on the disabled list with left knee inflammation.
On Monday, the Red Sox traded for second baseman Ian Kinsler, indicating that the 2018 season was likely over for Pedroia. On Tuesday, President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski said that the team is not anticipating that Pedroia would play again in 2018.
Pedroia is by far the longest-tenured Red Sox on the active roster. Pedroia made his debut in 2006 for the Red Sox, eight years earlier than Jackie Bradley Jr., the second-longest tenured Red Sox player. Including Pedroia, just six players remain from the Red Sox 2013 championship team.
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The 34-year-old is in year five of an eight year, $110 million contract. Pedroia is owed $15 million in 2019, $13 million in 2020, and $12 million in 2021.
Don’t Give Up on Pedroia Just Yet
It is frustrating for Boston Red Sox fans that Pedroia has struggled to stay healthy. However, fans should not forget what Pedroia is capable of when healthy.
The former MVP is hitting .295 with 41 homers and 231 RBIs over the past five years, but assuming he misses the rest of this season, he will have appeared in just 490 of the team’s 810 games. This includes a terrific 2016 season when Pedroia hit .318 with 15 homers and 74 RBIs in 154 games.
During his time with the Red Sox, Pedroia has been huge in the regular season for the Red Sox championship teams. In his rookie season in 2007, Pedroia hit .317 with eight homers and 50 RBIs and hit .301 with nine homers and 84 RBIs with the Red Sox in 2013.
With his current contract and his inconsistency to stay healthy, it would be very difficult to trade Pedroia and the return would likely not be great. Kinsler has been great with the Red Sox in his first two games, but he is only signed for the remainder of the season. With Pedroia, Eduardo Nunez, Brock Holt, Xander Bogaerts, and Rafael Devers all under contract for next season, it wouldn’t make much sense for the Red Sox to try to go after Kinsler again this offseason.
Dombrowski has shown that he is quick to give up on players with bad contracts. Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval were both DFA’d despite having a lot of money left on their deals. However, those players were simply not performing at the plate, which is not the case with Pedroia.
If Pedroia struggles to stay healthy again in 2019 and struggles at the plate again as he did in 2018, then the talks for DFA would make much more sense. However, as of right now, it wouldn’t make sense to DFA the Red Sox legend who has shown he can still contribute when healthy.