clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Red Sox Trade Target: Jedd Gyorko

Losing Dustin Pedroia hurts every game. Maybe it’s time to find someone to play every day in 2018?

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at St. Louis Cardinals Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The Red Sox have been amazing in 2018 - what more can you say about a team on pace for over 100 wins at the start of July? From Chris Sale to J.D. Martinez to Xander Bogaerts to Mookie Betts to Craig Kimbrel it’s been a great first half. But one player they’ve been without nearly the entire season is Dustin Pedroia. And the lack of his presence has been felt on the field.

The most recent news on Pedroia isn’t the most encouraging. It’s not the worst, but it’s not the best. Pedroia is out until he can get healthy.

In Pedroia’s absence, and getting the bulk of the playing time at second base, Eduardo Núñez has been disappointing at just .256/.286/.370 entering play Tuesday. This has been good for -1.1 of the Baseball Reference flavor of WAR. And we’ve seen his struggles around the second base bag, which don’t help make the case for every day playing time.

Brock Holt \o/ has been better, worth just under 1 WAR while hitting .296/.376/.401 and filling the role of the primary bench player on the Sox. Holt adds even more value to the roster with his positional flexibility so moving him to second base permanently would just open up another hole for Dave Dombrowski to fill. But all is not lost, there is a player currently on a big league roster who could fit the bill.

Jedd Gyorko (pronounced JERK-oh, much to the disappointment of Star Trek VI fans waiting to use those Chancellor Gorkon puns) would be the perfect fit for a Pedroia-less Boston Red Sox team. He’s provided 1.1 WAR so far this season, coming off a 3.0 WAR in 2016 and 3.7 WAR 2017.

Gyorko is in his sixth major league season and will turn 30 in September. Drafted by the San Diego Padres in 2010, the infielder hit his stride after three years with the Friars when a trade sent him to the St. Louis Cardinals, so he’s a career National Leaguer (so far).

Gyorko has played mostly second and third base with a sprinkling of shortstop, first base, and outfield. This complements Brock Holt’s extensive shortstop/second base experience and can allow a Holt-Gyorko infield (regardless of who is where) that also spells Rafael Devers when needed.

Over his career, Gyorko has averaged 25 home runs per 162 games played and has a 30 homer season along with two 20 homer years on his resume. With power back in Boston these days that’s not the biggest need but it’s nice to have.

It’s been something of a story this year that the Red Sox struggle against left-handed pitching. Well, Gyorko has an OPS of 1.077 against southpaws in 2018 and an .825 mark against them in his career. Compared to his lifetime .702 OPS against righties, his platoon split is decidedly in the pro column on the whiteboard in the Front Office.

Gyorko’s relative youth compared to the nearly-35-year-old Pedroia and remaining contract are benefits as well. Just one more year of his 5 year/$35 million deal remains and the Padres are on the hook for five of the thirteen million owed to the infielder in 2019. After that there’s a $13 million team option with a $1 million buyout. After that he’s a free agent.

There is no guarantee that the Cardinals, with their long history of successful seasons and playoff runs, will become sellers. However, as of July 10th they sit seven games back in the NL Central and are trailing the loser of the NL West (either the Diamondbacks or Dodgers at this point) with the San Francisco Giants and Colorado Rockies in the hunt. Plus the Nationals are close enough and motivated enough to stay in the race. They don’t need to blow it up but if other teams make moves they need to counter those and hope to do one better to keep pace. They also have a good amount of infield depth and could possibly be enticed by some upper-level pitching depth from the Red Sox. Without Gyorko, they’d still have Jose Martinez, Kolten Wong, Paul DeJong and Matt Carpenter to fill out their infield.

Dave Dombrowski, joined by his good friend and longtime Cardinal Tony LaRussa might be able to put together a package that give the Cards something of value and saves them $8 million in 2019 that could go to, say, a bid for Manny Machado this winter and turn third base into a real strength.

Is this the end of the line for Pedroia? In 2018 it just might be. July 31 will arrive quickly and after an abbreviated three game stint with the Sox earlier this year Pedroia needs to be ready to go before a long-term sub is deemed necessary. And even if he’s ready to go in 2019, having another player who could be ready to play full-time or in a platoon with the Last Show isn’t the worst thing in the world either.

MLB: Miami Marlins at St. Louis Cardinals Scott Kane-USA TODAY Sports

For purely irrelevant but fun reasons, Gyorko also made his pitching debut in 2018. It didn't go great. But I’m sure Alex Cora won’t turn down another tool buried somewhere on the roster.