For a brief time it looked like the Mets might give 22-year-old prospect Dilson Herrera a chance to replace Daniel Murphy as second base, but that idea was squashed once they traded for Neil Walker. And now Herrera is headed back to the minors, as the Mets included him among 20 total players in their second round of spring training cuts today.
Herrera mostly struggled in 31 games for the Mets last season and just turned 22 earlier this month, so more seasoning in the minors isn’t a bad idea for the former top-100 prospect. On the other hand he’s hit .340 at Double-A and .327 at Triple-A while being very young for each level of competition and, had they not pulled off the deal to get Walker from the Pirates for left-hander Jon Niese, the Mets seemed ready to hand him the keys.
Walker is an impending free agent, so as of now things are set up for Herrera to spend the bulk of this season in the minors and then take over as the Mets’ starting second baseman in 2017.
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.