If the 2014 Red Sox are to mimic the 2012 Red Sox and ultimately finish over 20 games out of a playoff spot, rest assured there will be no late season purging of superstar, big money players this time around.
Guggenheim Baseball Management (the group that owns the LA Dodgers, with Magic Johnson as its figurehead) would no doubt be salivating over the likes of Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia right now if they were in their 2012 operating mode. Pedroia is, after all, a big baseball name and has a juicy longterm contract. The Sox inked Pedroia to a $100 million deal last summer that is supposed to keep the four-time All-Star on Yawkey Way through 2021.
Now, it’s a stretch to say the Sox are “stuck” with Pedroia, but there’s no doubt that that contract looks a world less appealing than it did one year ago in the feel-good summer of 2013.
Through 84 games this season, Pedroia is batting .277 with an on-base percentage of .346 and a slugging percentage of .383. Through 84 games last season, Pedroia was batting .322 with an OBP of .404 and a slugging mark of .441.
Pedroia’s numbers this season look similar to his numbers in 2012. Through 84 games in that nightmarish Sox campaign, Pedroia hit .265 with an OBP of .324 and a slugging percentage of .394.
Pedroia will likely never bang out over 20 home runs again like he did in 2011 as he has just four dingers this season. But his home run marks this year are consistent with where he was at midway through the 2013 and 2012 seasons and the low power numbers aren’t what’s worrying people. It’s the fact that Pedroia often looks overmatched at the plate and his low batting average that has Sox fans grimacing.
Can Pedroia turn things around this season? Absolutely. He has three three-hit games in the past week, has looked more comfortable during his at-bats recently and it finally seems as though the sore left wrist that hampered him during the early portion of the season is something close to a non-issue.
Follow Metro Boston sports editor Matt Burke on Twitter: @BurkeMetroBOS