The bottom line on the now annual Pedey Comeback Tour?
If Dustin Pedroia comes back to full health and hit for his career average of .300, that’s great. But we’re eleven years removed from MVPedey, and the precariousness of his return is already handcuffing the new Boston Red Sox brass simultaneously trying to compete for a playoff spot and lower payroll to avoid a luxury tax hit.
MLBTrade Rumors reported Tuesday that Pedroia will probably not see game action until May or June. So the Sox need to field a serviceable second baseman this season, and if Pedroia is finished, what do they do about the position moving forward?
Boston does have internal options. After non-tendering Marco Hernandez earlier in the week, the Sox then resigned him to a $700K contract for 2020. This a much cheaper option than ponying up an estimated $5M to bring Brock Holt into the fold (plus, Holt will probably want a multi-year deal…if the Sox are trying to cut payroll, spending $15-$20M on a utility player probably ain’t the wisest move).
Hernandez is an above-average fielder, posting a career .987 fielding percentage which is excellent for a middle infielder. Hernandez isn’t going to light the world on fire with his bat (.250 BA, 2 HR, .279 OBP in 61 games in 2019) but with a lineup that includes sluggers J.D. Martinez, Xander Bogaerts, and (for now) Mookie Betts, Hernandez just needs to keep the seat warm for Pedey’s possible return.
If the Sox end up acquiring a seasoned first baseman, then Chavis can pack a little more punch over at second, much like he did in 2019 (.254 BA, 18 HR, 58 RBI in 95 Games Played). A natural corner infielder, Chavis did surprising well manning the middle of the diamond. He had a serviceable +3 Rtot defensive metric (Total fielding runs above average) having committed only four errors in 45 games at a position he was sort of learning as he went.
If the Boston Red Sox have Michael Chavis taking grounders at second from the get-go in Fort Myers this spring, he could emerge as the potential starting second baseman, then switch to first assuming Pedroia can play injury-free.