Dustin Pedroia exited Wednesday’s game with a strained hamstring and now the former MVP-winning second baseman is headed to the disabled list, with the Red Sox calling up prospect Deven Marrero from Triple-A to take his roster spot.
Pedroia suffered the injury after hitting a two-run single, rounding first base and then hopping back to the bag in pain. He was having a nice bounceback season after a rough 2014, hitting .307 with nine homers and an .819 OPS to basically match his career numbers at age 31.
Marrero was the Red Sox’s first-round draft pick in 2012 and was expected to move quickly through the minors as a college shortstop, but instead he’s struggled to turn himself into a productive hitter. This season at Triple-A he hit .241 with four homers and a .644 OPS in 66 games and Marrero has a lifetime .683 OPS as a pro.
Brock Holt, not Marrero, is starting at second base in Pedroia’s absence today. And that makes sense given how well Holt has hit while playing all over the diamond as a super-utility man. Marrero figures to serve as a bench player for now.
Around this time last year, the ink was drying on Manny Machado‘s 10-year, $300 million contract with the Padres and Bryce Harper was about to put the finishing touches on his 13-year, $330 million deal with the Phillies. We had gotten used to premier free agents hanging out in limbo until late February and even into March. This past offseason, however, was a return to normal. The top three free agents — Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon, and Stephen Strasburg — all signed in December. Once the big names are off the board, the lesser free agents subsequently tend to find homes. There were a handful of noteworthy signings in January, but pretty much everyone was off the board when February began.
There are a handful of free agents remaining as I write this, with one name really sticking out: Yasiel Puig. Last season, between the Reds and Indians, Puig hit .267/.327/.458 with 24 home runs, 84 RBI, 76 runs scored, and 19 stolen bases in 611 plate appearances. He was one of only seven players in the league last year to hit at least 24 home runs and swipe at least 19 bases. While Puig has had some problems over the years, he still possesses a rare blend of power and speed that would seem useful.
The Marlins, White Sox, and Rockies have been linked to Puig this offseason. His market has been otherwise quiet since he became a free agent. The Athletic’s Jim Bowden suggests Puig will have to settle for a “pillow contract” — a one-year deal with which Puig reestablishes his market value, aiming to pursue a multi-year deal the following offseason. Along with the aforementioned three teams, Bowden suggests the Mariners, Indians, Pirates, Giants, Red Sox, and Cardinals as other teams that could potentially fit with Puig, which is not to be confused with teams having expressed interest in his services.