By Matt McCarthy, 985TheSportsHub.com
Nothing ever ends well, and it sure looks like Dustin Pedroia’s career in Boston won’t end well, either.
Pedroia was honest and blunt in his press conference at Fenway Park Monday afternoon to announce that he is stepping away from his rehab efforts. He admitted that he was “not sure” if he would ever be able to play baseball again.
For the first time since his 2017 knee surgery, Pedroia sounded resigned to reality. Gone was the confidence from spring training that he would bounce back and be able to stay on the field. The Pedroia bravado Red Sox fans have grown to love over the years was nowhere to be found.
“My knee will never heal,” Pedroia said.
It’s tough to watch it end this way, and it’s been tough to watch what’s happened to Pedroia over the last few years.
Pedroia was a face-of-the-franchise type of player. When the Red Sox signed him to his eight-year, $110 million contract extension in 2013, it went against their philosophy-of-the-month to never sign players to long-term deals.
“There’s an exception to every rule and a caveat for every policy. Dustin is the exception; he’s the caveat,” former Red Sox President Larry Lucchino said at the time.
Pedroia meant so much to the organization that they were willing to make an exception for him that they were unwilling to make for Jon Lester.
It’s safe to say that didn’t work out.
Pedroia has played just one full season since the end of 2013. He appeared in 154 games in 2016 and was excellent that year, batting .318 with an .825 OPS.
But it all went downhill when Pedroia was spiked in the knee by Manny Machado in 2017. He has never been the same since, and public opinion of him has never been the same, either.
He threw his teammates under the bus after they threw at Machado following the spike, declaring from the top of the dugout steps that he wasn’t responsible for the retaliation.
Dustin Pedroia: "That's not me. If it was me, I would have hit you the first day. But now? That's not me." pic.twitter.com/qGPmVfiMZm— Tailgate Sports (@_TailgateSports) April 24, 2017
“I just told him I didn’t have anything to do with that,” Pedroia said. “That’s not how you do that, man. I’m sorry to him and his team. If you’re going to protect guys, you do it right away. It’s definitely a mishandled situation.”
Two months after criticizing his teammates for trying to stand up for him, Pedroia publicly stated he was the leader of the Red Sox.
Many Red Sox fans turned on Pedroia that summer. Many haven’t come back around on him.
We will eventually look back at Dustin Pedroia as one of the core players of the golden age of Red Sox baseball. We will remember him fondly as the 2007 Rookie of the Year and the 2008 American League Most Valuable Player. Many will argue that he has surpassed Bobby Doerr as the best second baseman in Red Sox history.
But for now, it’s hard not to think about everything that has happened in recent years.
If Dustin Pedroia is truly done, it won’t have ended well.
Nothing ever does.