Nothing’s changed. When the Sox make a mistake signing a player, I still feel that it’s not my money. They’re free to pay anybody they want whatever they want. The only reason I care what they spend on a player is if they then tell me they can’t get another player because of it. So, if they want to throw money away on Pedroia, that’s fine. Just don’t tell me in a few months you couldn’t afford to keep Ellsbury. Or couldn’t afford to trade for Cliff Lee. At that point, I’ll have an issue with overpaying for Pedroia.
And, clearly, they overpaid. Maybe not on a yearly basis. But, there is no way on earth they should have given a player like Pedroia eight years. For a 30-year old second baseman. That’s just insane.
If this was a regular second baseman, it would still be a bad deal. But, when you look at Pedroia’s history it becomes a blunder of epic proportions. Remember this was a guy who was so selfishly concerned about his image, that he wouldn’t follow doctor’s orders when they told him to stay off a broken foot. He missed half a season because of it. Way back in A-ball, the same thing. Missed eight games after a HBP. Came back too soon, and missed fourteen more. This is a chronic problem. This is a guy who throws his body all over the field with no concern of what could happen. He doesn’t know how to take it easy to avoid injury, no matter the situation. And you just guaranteed to pay him for eight more years?
That’s not even considering the erosion of his skills. When the Sox signed Crawford, the only downside that people pointed out right away was that his game was based so much on speed. When that’s the case, and you age, that half a step you lose becomes the difference between being great and merely average. Same thing with Pedroia. His entire game is based on maximum effort. His entire contribution is that he busts his butt down the line after a hit. What happens when he’s 35? What happens when giving it his all isn’t quite what it used to be? What happens when, at 36, he just can’t give it his all any more on every play? You’ll still have to pay him for two more years. With his style of play, he won’t have a steady decline. It will be a sharp drop off. And, it will happen about in the middle of this contract he just signed.
And, it’s not like he can be moved to save his body. He can’t play first or DH. His power numbers aren’t good enough now to fill those slots, let alone when he’s older. He’s going to be stuck at second base even after his range becomes practically Jeterian.
We can’t count on him taking it easy to save his body either. This isn’t like a regular player who you can give days off to during a season. He’ll stubbornly protect that image at all costs. So, he’ll be playing full seasons until he simply falls apart.
Is Pedroia the best option at second base for the Sox this year? Yes. Next year? Most likely. Five years from now? I doubt it. Eight years from now? It would be a miracle. But, that’s where he’ll be.
Creaky knees and all.