“A resolution” between Dustin Pedroia and the Red Sox could come at some point this month, The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham reports (Twitter link). Knee injuries limited Pedroia to just nine games in 2018-19, and he didn’t play at all during the 2020 season, with Abraham adding that Pedroia isn’t intending to make one final comeback attempt. 2021 marks the final season of the eight-year, $110MM extension Pedroia signed in July 2013, and the second baseman is owed $12MM for the coming season.
There has been an expectation that Pedroia could be cut loose in one fashion or another once the Sox were in need of a 40-man roster spot, as their 40-man is currently full. Some type of buyout rather than an outright release is probably the likelier route, since “given Dustin’s status, [the Sox will] want to do this correctly,” Abraham notes. One of the key figures in this era of Red Sox baseball, Pedroia hit .299/.365/.439 over 6777 career plate appearances (all in a Sox uniform), with a resume that includes the 2008 AL MVP Award, four All-Star appearances, and World Series rings from Boston’s 2007 and 2013 championship seasons.
Some more from Fenway Park…
- The Red Sox have asked at least one team for “a younger corner outfielder along with a minor-league pitcher not necessarily on the 40-man roster” as the trade return for Andrew Benintendi, WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford writes. While Benintendi has drawn interest from several teams, the Phillies and Reds haven’t been involved in talks. (The Rangers are also not in the mix, as Bradford originally reported last week.) Former Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski is now running the Phils’ front office and the Reds have explored a Benintendi trade in the past, so there was speculation that those two clubs could be looking into acquiring Benintendi this time around.
- Chris Sale’s return from Tommy John surgery is likely to come on the higher end of the usual 12-15 month recovery timeline, as ESPN.com’s Buster Olney writes that the Sox are “expected to be deliberate” in bringing the southpaw back to action. Sale underwent his TJ procedure at the end of last March, putting him on track to return in late June or early July. (Assuming the 2021 schedule goes as planned, it is easy to see a scenario where Sale doesn’t pitch until after the July 12-14 All-Star break.) Since Sale is under contract through at least the 2024 season, the club is “apt to take a conservative approach” to ensure that Sale is fully recovered and ready for 2022 and beyond, rather than rushing him in any way this season.
- The Red Sox hadn’t been in touch with Jon Lester as of December 9, Rob Bradford reported last month, and Bradford tweeted yesterday that there hadn’t been any new contact between the two sides prior to Lester’s new deal with the Nationals. While Boston has been looking at a wide range of starting pitching options this offseason, it seems like a reunion with Lester was simply not on the club’s radar.