Dustin Pedroia is a Red Sox legend. Toeing the line between MLB superstar and postseason cult hero, the California-born second baseman played every game with grit and energy. The 5’9″ Pedroia could easily be mistaken for the “gutsy” brand of major-league glue guy, the overachiever who puts team first and whose motor never stops. Pedroia was exactly that, and though his blue-collar playing style could earn him the title of dirt dog, make no mistake about it: Pedroia was a superstar. A key player on two World Series winners, his accolades were numerous: 4-time All-Star, 4-time Gold Glove Award winner, a Silver Slugger award, the AL Rookie of the Year in 2007, and the AL MVP in 2008. He has accumulated 51.6 rWAR in his career, which includes 6 seasons of 5+ rWAR.
Unfortunately, knee injuries sidelined Pedroia in recent years. The 37-year-old appeared in just 9 games over the past three seasons. Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe now hears that Pedroia and the Red Sox “are prepared to talk soon about a mutual understanding that would end his playing career.” Pedroia is owed $12.125MM in 2021 – the final year of his deal. Abraham notes that the benefit for the Red Sox would be in freeing up his 40-man roster spot before the business of the offseason begins in full. No official announcement is planned, but if Abraham’s sources are indeed correct, Pedroia could make a final decision about the potential end of his playing days soon.
Currently, Pedroia owns a .299/.365/.439 career line across 6,777 plate appearances with 1,805 hits, 922 runs, 140 home runs, 138 stolen bases, and 51.6 rWAR. If Pedroia never plays another major league game, he will have put together an impressive resume that will merit consideration for the Hall of Fame.
He was drafted the same year Boston ended their 85-year playoff drought, beginning his career in A-ball as a 20-year-old during what turned out to be a magical year in Boston. It could be seen as a disappointment to arrive just after a year as redemptive and memorable as 2004 was for the Red Sox, but Pedroia didn’t appear to fret over missing out on the curse-breaking fun. Instead, he made his legacy on the continuation of a dream, helping to turn Boston into a perennial contender and one of the premiere franchises in the game. From his rookie season in 2007 – in which he roasted opposing pitchers to the tune of .317/.380/.442 – Pedroia cemented his status by ensuring Boston fans wouldn’t endure another stretch of title-less baseball. Even on a star-studded Red Sox team, Pedroia shined bright. Alongside fellow youngsters Jacoby Ellsbury, and Jon Lester, Pedroia teamed with a veteran cast of proven playoff heroes like David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, Kevin Youkilis, Jason Varitek, Josh Beckett, and Curt Schilling to sweep the Rockies and win the World Series for the second time in four seasons.
Pedroia would again play a key role for a title team in 2013 when he posted 6.1 rWAR and finished 7th in MVP voting. For his career, Pedroia appeared in 51 total playoff games. He played his entire career with the Red Sox organization, currently sitting 7th in rWAR on their all-time franchise leaderboard. He’s also 9th in at-bats, 8th in hits, 6th in doubles, and 2nd behind only Everett Scott in defensive rWAR.