Attention, Red Sox media: Few are demanding Dustin Pedroia retire, so stop with the straw man

Alex Reimer
May 17, 2019 - 12:41 pm

Lou Merloni and various Red Sox beat writers must be seeing more ghosts than Rose’s boyfriend in “Get Out.” Over the last several days, they have been admonishing these supposed Red Sox fans who are demanding Dustin Pedroia retire following his latest rehab setback.

“The amount of Sox fans who have turned on Pedroia and find his injury issues either comical or deserved is ridiculous and disrespectful,” MassLive’s Chris Cotillo tweeted this week. “Way too many have forgotten how much that guy has meant to the organization.”

Barstool’s Jared Carrabis piggybacked on Cotillo’s reprimand of these alleged crazed Pedroia bashers, tweeting it’s “disheartening to see fans who are willing to throw Dustin Pedroia in the trash because of his injuries.”

While Carrabis might be “disheartened” about all of the imagined Pedroia hate, Merloni is downright furious. He defended Pedroia at length on Thursday’s OMF, stumping for the little leader’s right to continue rehabbing as long as he desires.

There are some Red Sox fans who appear ambivalent about Pedroia’s future, which makes perfect sense. The team won the World Series and a franchise-record 108 games without him last season. He also only played in 105 games the previous year, undergoing surgery on his left knee following the season. 

Pedroia has played in just nine games since.

With that recent fragility in mind, it isn’t surprising Pedroia was pulled from his latest rehab assignment this week. He could get back on the field this weekend for either Double-A Portland or Triple-A Pawtucket.

The Red Sox owe Pedroia $40 million through 2021 –– counting this season –– so it makes sense for him to cash those checks for as long as the team is obligated to keep sending them. The Red Sox, in turn, have milked $327 million of value out of Pedroia, per Fangraphs. They are probably fine paying him on the back end now, with the (admittedly remote) possibility he could return.

If Michael Chavis continues to slug nearly .600, there’s no way Pedroia should make it back into the lineup. But he could still replace Eduardo Nunez or Brock Holt on the bench. And keep in mind –– Will Middlebrooks experienced a great start to his big league career, too. There’s no guarantee Chavis will keep playing this way.

The only logical reaction to Pedroia’s seemingly futile rehab is to wait and see. The Red Sox don’t gain anything by forcing him to walk away now.

Most people outside of an apparent loud minority see that. It’s true that some Red Sox fans have rightfully grown tired with Pedroia’s grouchy attitude –– not defending Matt Barnes in the aftermath of the Manny Machado incident, standing at his locker proclaiming to be the leader of a sourpuss team in the aftermath of David Price’s airplane spat with Dennis Eckersley –– but that doesn’t mean they want Pedroia to retire.

Criticizing Pedroia is not a high crime, and it is also not the same as wishing he would hang up his well-worn spikes. 

Related: Alex Cora on OMF gives injury updates on Dustin Pedroia, David Price