The Red Sox have pulled Dustin Pedroia off his minor league rehab assignment at Double-A Portland following yet another setback with his surgically-repaired left knee.
They’re calling it “minor soreness” but if we’ve learned anything in the couple of years of Pedroia’s knee issues, we’ve learned that there is nothing minor about them. It all started with a “cleanup” surgery at the end of 2017 and since then he’s appeared in just nine big league games. Assume any “minor” setback means a considerable time before Pedroia is ramping up again.
If he ramps up again in a meaningful way, that is.
Pedroia is under contract through 2021, but the club has effectively moved on from him, even if it has not moved on from him personally, emotionally, contractually, etc. They have fielded effective replacements for him and won a World Series without him. Right now rookie Michael Chavis is playing most of his time at the keystone and is putting up outstanding offensive numbers. The sort of which, even if Pedroia was given a 100% clean bill of health tomorrow, would not justify benching Chavis.
Pedroia’s connection to the team and the city are such that the Red Sox will not likely simply release him at any point, but at the same time he has a strong financial incentive not to retire. In this he’s basically in David Wright’s position with the Mets in his final few years. There’s a comp between Jacoby Ellsbury‘s situation with the Yankees too, even if there is not the same kind of bond between team, city and player in that situation.
I’m not sure if this truly is the end for Pedroia, but if it is, it’s certainly a downer of an ending for a once-great player.