Pedroia’s Return

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Dustin Pedroia‘s return from knee surgery proved unsuccessful last season, lasting only three games before he re-aggravated the injury and the Boston Red Sox were forced to put him back on the disabled list. This year will be different, at least according to Pedroia, as the veteran second baseman remains confident that he’ll return to reclaim his position in 2019.

Pedroia told the Boston Sports Journal’s Sean McAdam that his days of rehabbing his knee are behind him, “I’ve definitely worked pretty hard to get to this point,” he said, “but I’m taking it one step at a time.”

In 2018 the Red Sox were in the midst of a historic season that ultimately led to a World Series title. We can’t blame Pedroia for wanting to be part of that but his persistence backfired, essentially leading to a lost season. This time he’s listening to his doctor’s orders and adjusting his rehab to ensure he gets his recovery right.

The plan seems to be paying off, as Pedroia insists his knee is feeling good as spring training approaches. “I’m doing great,’’ Pedroia told the Boston Globe in December, “working hard and believing.”

Pedroia clearly wasn’t himself while attempting to battle through the pain in his brief stint last season. He went 1-for-11 with a pair of walks in 13 plate appearances over three games. However, he’s only two years removed from hitting .293/.369/.392 in 105 games. The 35-year old could see some age-related deterioration at the plate but we shouldn’t assume his skills have fallen off a cliff already. He doesn’t have much pop left in his bat but nobody should be surprised if the career .300 hitter produces a solid average.

If Pedroia returns at full strength or close to it, the team would be provided with more flexibility in other areas. A healthy and productive Pedroia would both benefit the team at second base and on the trading block.

The Red Sox are still in need of at least one relief pitcher and Blake Swihart’s agent requested the catcher be traded just last week. In 2015, Swihart wasn’t just the best prospect in the organization, he was the top ranked catcher in all of baseball. However, the Red Sox couldn’t have mishandled his development any worse, but perhaps there’s still value there to salvage.

As it stands, the farm system is thinner than ever. Top pitching prospect Jay Groome needed Tommy John surgery and the best hitter in the system, Michael Chavis, was given a 80-game PED suspension last year. If the Sox need something else at the deadline, there wouldn’t be much to trade. Other teams are also wise to the fact that Dave Dombrowski needs to make a roster move, so the Sox may not get fair return as it stands.

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