Boston Red Sox

By Matt McCarthy,

It’s sad to watch a once great player see his career derailed by injuries. As common as it is in sports, it never gets easier, no matter how many times you watch it happen.

And boy, Dustin Pedroia was one hell of a player in his prime. There was arguably no player in the game better than him defensively at second base. He was a spark-plug at the top of the Red Sox order for years. After David Ortiz, he was the face of the franchise.

But that player is long gone, and he’s not coming back.

Pedroia is back on the Injured List with his problematic left knee. It marks the latest setback in Pedroia’s lengthy and, to this point, unsuccessful rehab from cartilage restoration surgery in 2017, a procedure few players have come back from.

It’s time for the Red Sox to face reality: Pedroia’s knee is not getting better. Chances are, it’s not going to get better. He can’t stay on the field. He likely won’t stay on the field.

Stop the madness.

Apr 9, 2019; Boston, MA: Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia waves to fans after batting practice before a game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park. (Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports)

The Red Sox have been too emotional with their handling of the Pedroia situation and it has clouded their judgment. They are intoxicated by the promise of the Real Dustin Pedroia finally returning.

It’s not going to happen.

The Red Sox have sacrificed organizational flexibility, mortgaged roster spots, and shipped players out of town all in the name of giving Pedroia a chance to play. They keep bending over backwards to make room for him.

They did it last year, they did it this year, and it sounds like they’re ready to do it again.

The spin has already started from the organization in the wake of Pedroia’s latest trip to the IL. They say he avoided a serious setback and claim he will return sometime in May.

Fools. How many times will they get duped by the idea of a healthy Pedroia?

It’s insanity.

If the last two years tell us anything, Pedroia will go out on an absurdly short minor league rehab stint, return to Boston far too soon, somebody else will be demoted or designated for assignment to open up a roster spot, and he will be back on the shelf a week later.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

Hanley Ramirez was shipped out of town to make room for Pedroia last year. Blake Swihart is gone this year. Who will be the next player to lose his job to accommodate a 35-year-old with a bum knee?

Feb 18, 2019; Lee County, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia (15) during a spring training workout at Jet Blue Park at Fenway South. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

It’s apparent the Red Sox have no legitimate plan for the future at second base. Their only plan has been to hope that Pedroia gets healthy.

Brock Holt can’t stay on the field and Eduardo Nunez doesn’t belong on the field. There’s no proof that Michael Chavis can play second base in the big leagues and Tzu-Wei Lin likely won’t hit enough to play every day. A revolving door of Ian Kinslers is not the answer for the next three years.

It’s time for the Red Sox to get serious about second base, and it’s time for the Red Sox to be serious with themselves: Dustin Pedroia isn’t walking through that door. And if he does, he’ll be hobbled by his bad knee.

It’s sad, but it’s the truth.

You can hear Matt McCarthy on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s own Hardcore Baseball podcast and on various 98.5 The Sports Hub programs. Follow him on Twitter @MattMcCarthy985.