The Red Sox may no longer need a shortstop.
The solution is none other than current second baseman Dustin Pedroia.
“They’ve asked me if I think I could play shortstop,” Pedroia said. “They’ve put it out there and I’ve told them I’m all for it.”
The Red Sox aren’t exactly throwing Pedroia to the wolves by making the transition, as he has plenty of experience at the position.
Pedroia was an All-American shortstop at Arizona State and was drafted and signed as a shortstop in 2004. He played 42 games without committing in error that year but was shifted to second base to make room for then-Red Sox prospect Hanley Ramirez.
He played shortstop infrequently in 2005 and 2006, but in 184 games at the position he committed just seven errors.
As I mentioned in yesterday’s article, the Red Sox’s options at shortstop are very limited and uninspiring. The club’s only real options are Marco Scutaro, Miguel Tejada, and Orlando Cabrera, all of whom come with plenty of warning signs and high price tags.
In moving Pedroia to short, the Sox can turn their attention to one of the many second basemen currently on the market via trade or free agency.
Players like Felipe Lopez, Orlando Hudson, Placido Polanco, and Brandon Phillips would all give the Red Sox a more well-rounded and competitive club.
Additionally, the return on investment would be much higher than the Sox could expect to receive by overpaying for Scutaro, Tejada, or Cabrera.
Whether or not Pedroia can make the shift defensively to a full-time shortstop is sure to come under fire, especially by those who feel that this announcement may be more of a smokescreen to drive down the asking price of the aforementioned shortstop options.
For his part, Pedroia feels very confident he can make the move and has been working hard to prepare for the transition.
“I’ve really worked hard on speed, agility and flexibility as well as all the strength, conditioning and endurance programs,” Pedroia said. “It’s really helping me. I have much more quickness and speed than I ever had. Maybe there is some question about my arm strength, but I’m working on that. I can do it. I hope it happens.”
If the Red Sox do go through with the transition, one could assume that it won’t be a permanent move. The Sox currently have 19-year-old defensive wunderkind Jose Iglesias in the farm system, and he figures to be the shortstop of the future.
Whether it’s a short-term move, a long-term move, or just speculation, it doesn’t change the fact that Pedroia is completely confident that he can handle the transition if and/or when the opportunity arises.
“When the idea of moving back to shortstop was floated to me, I welcomed it,” Pedroia said. “I believe I can play shortstop and help get the Red Sox back where they belong.”
It will be interesting to see if Pedroia can handle the reins at shortstop or if the team is actually using this as a negotiation tactic with the current crop of free agent shortstops.
Either way, expect Boston to remain busy this offseason, but for now it appears as though the Red Sox finally have their shortstop.