Pedroia, 34, hasn’t yet played this season after undergoing left knee cartilage restoration surgery last November. He’s been on a rehab assignment at Triple-A Pawtucket for the last 10 days, struggling to an .071/.235/.071 line over 17 plate appearances. While Pedroia still provides value in the field, and minor-league rehab appearance results aren’t a great way to judge a veteran’s skill, it’s definitely worth considering that his best days might be behind him. After all, Pedroia posted a 99 OPS+ (tied for his career-worst over a full season) in 2017 while being held back by knee inflammation and a wrist sprain throughout the year.
With that said, he’s a four-time All-Star, a four-time Gold Glove winner, and a two-time World Series winner, and even as he seemed to be a shell of his former self last season, he was a pretty average second baseman — certainly not bad or hurting the team in any way. He’ll get an extended chance to prove himself, but with the Red Sox being in an aggressive win-now mode right now, it wouldn’t be the biggest surprise if a guy like Brock Holt or Eduardo Nunez replaced him down the stretch if he struggled mightily.
As Abraham tweeted Thursday, the Red Sox don’t plan on getting rid of either of the players who have most frequently filled in for Pedroia: Holt, who has looked like his former All-Star self while posting a fantastic .329/.382/.486 slash line this season, or Nunez, who has posted a solid .243/.261/.361 line. The Red Sox are already down to 12 pitchers, so unless they’re going to put a position player on the DL, utility man Blake Swihart — who has struggled to a .133/.212/.167 line this season and requested a trade earlier in the year — would seem to be the most logical candidate to be let go upon Pedroia’s return. Swihart has somehow started just four games this season — all at DH and none in the field — despite being on the 25-man roster all year.