Although unlikely, the Boston Red Sox could opt for the “Seasoned Veteran Free Agent” option. They could sign a guy to a one or two year deal or as insurance until Pedey’s contract expires in 2022. Although he was acquired via trade and not signed as a FA, veteran Ian Kinsler brought some much-needed stability to the position in 2018. The problem with this option in cost.
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Free Agent Jonathan Schoop has some pop (23 HR in 2019) but he is relatively young (28) and made $7.5M last year. He’s going to want something in the neighborhood of $10M a season. Hard pass.
Jason Kipnis is a bit older (32) a lot cheaper ($2.5M in 2019) but a bit less productive than Schoop (.245, 17 HR, 65 RBI in 121 GP). He’s three years removed from his best MLB season, but still possesses some power and might be a candidate to try on a one year deal at about $3-4M. A bit pricey perhaps, but you can’t argue with the years.
If the Sox want to provide depth at second, as well as the corner infield positions, Wilmer Flores is an intriguing option. Flores is an interesting candidate because he’s only 28, had a pretty good 2019 despite a fractured foot (.317, 9 HR, 37 RBI in 89 GP), and can play second, first, and third. He’ll command a multi-year deal, but a four year, $25M deal wouldn’t be such a bad move for the Sox.
Boston Red Sox fans (even the “Pedroia Needs To Retire” crowd) would love nothing more than to see Pedey come back relatively healthy, play in 100 or so games, and hit his career .300 and chip in 10 homers and provide that Dirt Dog attitude in the clubhouse. But with his track record the last two seasons, that seems a bit too hopeful.
If the Boston Red Sox are actually trying to cut payroll and field a competitive team, they have to get creative with filling that gap, as well as plan for the future up the middle so this familiar narrative isn’t playing out the next two off seasons.
Ultimately, I say use Marco Hernandez as a stop-gap until Dustin Pedroia is ready to return. If his return is unsuccessful, then the Boston Red Sox need to do what is best for the club and look for a long term solution moving forward.