At this point, sadly, it's become obvious to pretty much everyone that Tito Francona's favorite rodent is in the midst of an absolutely brutal slump—at least by the Elf's exalted standards. That's right, Dustin Pedroia is tanking as badly as Jason Bay did in June and July of 2009. He's chasing pitches away, and missing strikes in the zone. It's ugly to watch; one might say even painful. But what can be done about it?
A few ideas after the jump.
- The first option: do nothing. This seems to be the plan currently underway. To date, Terry has left Pedroia firmly ensconced in the #2 spot in the lineup, even when he's clearly not performing like a #2 hitter. There's arguably some merit to this strategy, especially if you believe that Pedroia is too good a hitter not to break out of his doldrums, and relatively soon at that. However, judging by Francona's treatment of Carl Crawford, this would suggest that an alternative strategy would be to . . . .
- Bump Pedroia down in the lineup. Now while this would clearly be construed by the Small Father as a sign of disrespect by his manager, it would of course be totally justified under the circumstances. However, the challenge would be the countermove: who do you move up in the lineup to fill the Pedey-shaped hole at the 2-spot? Although Francona has mentioned getting Crawford further up in the lineup, performing an Elf-for-Crawdaddy exchange would either give us three lefties at the top of the order, or require a juggling act that would put an Enron accountant to shame.The same would go for moving everyone's favorite heartless bastard, J. D. Drew, into the two spot—a position where, unlike leadoff, he has done very well in his career. No, really the only realistic candidate is our stalwart switch-hitting slugger. That's right, I'll say it now: Jarrod Saltalamacchia should take the #2 spot in our lineup, effective immediately, until Pedey snaps out of his doldrums.
- Hey, put down that straitjacket. I'm just kidding! If we're going to kick Pedey down in the lineup, the simplest option would be to have him swap spots with Stanford's sterling shortstop, Jed Lowrie. However, I think that rather than switch spots with his former adversary and current double-play partner, Lowrie would much rather prefer to . . . .
- Use Jedi mind tricks to break Pedey out of his slump. Frankly, I'm surprised that this hasn't already been tried. A few waves of the hand with Lowrie telling Pedey: "You will swing the ball and hit a laser where no one will be able to catch it" should have worked wonders by now. The only exception might be if Pedey were undergoing training in Jedi ways, and therefore would be immune to the tricks. (But I mean, it's the original Jedi—how can they not work?) So clearly they don't think it's a good idea. Maybe the Force runs too strong in young Lowrie. Therefore, unfortunately, the only remaining solution I can see is . . . .
- We piss off Pedroia until he breaks out of his slump. I admit that I am totally willing to have my head placed in effigy on future Pedroia lasers, if that's able to break him out of his slump. So, I will get the process started:
"Pedroia's swing is too complex and ugly to let him break out of his slump.""You call those lasers? A $2 pointer with dead batteries gives you better results!""The last time Pedroia hit a laser, he had a full head of hair!"
Have your own suggestions for how to break Pedey out of the vicious cycle? Add 'em below! If you'll excuse me, I have to go put on my asbestos suit for when the lasers start firing again. . . .