Boston’s roster is being overhauled today. In addition to putting Dustin Pedroia on the disabled list and calling up both Jackie Bradley Jr. and Deven Marrero from Triple-A the Red Sox have also demoted right-hander Joe Kelly to Pawtucket.
Kelly actually managed to stay in the rotation for a month after reports of him being “clearly on thin ice” surfaced in late May, but the Red Sox eventually got tired of waiting for him to turn things around. Kelly posted a 5.67 ERA in 14 starts and heads back to the minors at age 27 and with more than 400 career innings as a big leaguer.
Last year’s trade deadline swap that sent John Lackey to the Cardinals for Kelly and Allen Craig looks like a total bust for the Red Sox. Kelly has a 4.96 ERA in 24 starts for Boston, Craig has hit .130 in 53 games for Boston, and now they’re teammates in Pawtucket.
Justin Masterson will step into Kelly’s rotation spot, although he may not be on the sturdiest of ice himself.
Welp, that didn’t last long. Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia is going back on the injured list with more knee issues. If it matters the Sox say it’s not a big deal and they expect him back sooner rather than later, but they also said that his post-2017 knee surgery was just a “cleanup” at first and that basically cost him a year. So.
Pedroia has played in six games and is 2-for-20 with a walk.
I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say that Pedroia’s career may be nearing an end. Sure, he’s under contract for two more years after this season, but he’s also in a unfortunate spiral that so many players experience in their mid-to-late 30s.
Running a website like this makes it all the clearer, actually. When you search a player’s name in our CMS, you get every post in which he appears in reverse chronological order. Just about every long-tenured player ends with about six posts in which he is alternately placed on and activated from the disabled/injured list. Then an offseason link to a big feature in which he’s written about as being “at a crossroads” followed by something vague about “resuming baseball activities” and then, inevitably, the retirement announcement. I can’t count the number of guys whose careers I can tick off in that way by browsing the guts of this site.
I hope that’s not the case for Pedroia. I hope that there’s a “Pedroia wins Comeback Player of the Year” post in the future. Or at the very least a silly “Miller’s Crossing” reference in an “And that Happened” in which I say “the old man’s still an artist with the Thompson” after he peppers the ball around in some 3-for-4, two-double game. I want that stuff to happen.
It’s just that, if you watch this game long enough, you realize how unlikely that is once a player starts to break down.