Making the case for Dustin Pedroia to be the next captain of the Red Sox

Jason Varitek’s time in Boston looks to be over.  He served the Red Sox well over the 14 seasons that he played for them, serving officially as the team’s captain for the last 7 seasons.  Even if his time here isn’t done I think that it is about time for him to give up his C.  It’s not because he doesn’t deserve it either (the beer and chicken thing was not his fault, he’s a captain not a 30 year old pitcher’s babysitter) but it seems like it is time for someone else to take over the captain duties – Dustin Pedroia.

Pedroia is the emotional spark plug of the Red Sox

I know that Bobby Valentine said a few weeks ago that he wouldn’t name another captain of the Boston Red Sox if Jason Varitek doesn’t return to the team but let me make the case for Pedroia.  It shouldn’t be too hard, Pedroia is the life of the Red Sox clubhouse.  Pedroia is the loudest guy in the locker room.  That’s impressive for someone who is generously listed at 5’9″ and 190 lbs.  He’s also the cockiest.  He goes around the clubhouse boasting about the laser shows that he is about to put on.  He also has his teammates backs.  Early in 2010 when David Ortiz was struggling and some of the media was calling for him to be released Pedroia took to his defense.  “David is fine, he’s one of our teammates.  I mean, yeah, it could have been me that hit into that double play.  It happens to everybody man.  I mean, he’s had 60 at-bats.  A couple of years ago I had 60 at-bats and I was hitting .170 and everyone was ready to kill me too.  What happened?  Laser show.  So relax, I’m tired of looking at the NESN poll ‘Why is David Ortiz struggling’.  David’s fine, he’s one of our teammates.  We believe in him.  He came out of it last year, he’s going to come out of it this year.”  If those aren’t a captain’s words than I don’t know what are.  He was right too, Ortiz came out of it and wound up with a .270 average, 32 home runs and 102 RBI that year.  He also gets the respect of his opponents.  Last year Phillies rookie pitcher Vance Worley sent an attendent over with a ball to get Pedey’s autograph on it.  Former White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen once said “I love that little guy.  It looks like he escaped from Cirque de Soleil and they put a uniform on him.”  He’s famous for his intense cribbage games with former manager Terry Francona.  Last year after he had to fill in at the clean-up position in the lineup for a few games he came into the clubhouse and feigned a tirade when he was put back in his usual #2 hole.  Pedroia keeps the clubhouse loose with his antics.  His over sized ego is part show, part truth but there is no question that everything he does on the field is all heart.

With his dirt dog style Pedroia has won over the hearts of fans and teammates alike

If you want to talk production, Pedroia produces as much as anyone out on that field.  He’s never been below a .285 average over a full season in his five year career.  His career line of .305/.373/.837 with 75 HRs, 344 RBIs and 82 SBs is exceptional for a player, especially one of his stature (he’s currently 9th in avg. for active players).  Pedroia never let his diminutive figure hold him down.  He was a member of the 20/20 club last season with 21 home runs and 26 stolen bases.  How about production in the post-season?  In 14 career ALCS games he has a line of .345/.438/1.074 with 4 home runs and 10 RBI.  In the 2007 World Series Pedroia went 5 for 18 (.278) with a home run, 4 RBI and 2 BBs.  Over his short five year career he’s already added the American League Rookie of the Year, American League Most Valuable Player, 2 Gold Gloves, and a Silver Slugger to his mantle.  That goes along with 3 American League All-Star appearances and a World Series championship.  He’s an amazingly consistent performer, both at the plate and in the field, with his numbers never hovering too far away from his career averages.  And if you like longevity he’s got that too.  Pedroia made his Red Sox debut on August 22, 2006.  Assuming that Jason Varitek and Tim Wakefield have played their last games as members of the Red Sox only 4 players on the team have more service time with the Red Sox than Pedroia – David Ortiz (debuted March 21, 2003), Kevin Youkilis (debuted May 15, 2004), Josh Beckett (debuted April 5, 2006) and Jon Lester (debuted June 10, 2006).  If the respect of his teammates and opponents, amazingly high and consistent production, and team elder statesmanship isn’t enough to make a guy the captain than I don’t know what he has to do.

Maybe Valentine doesn’t believe in captains but after the debacle in the clubhouse last season I’d say that the last thing we need is a clubhouse without a captain.  He doesn’t have to wear the C on his jersey, that looks ridiculous on a baseball player’s jersey anyway, but he’s already the Red Sox captain in spirit so why not make him the captain in name as well?  God knows for what he’s done, on and off the field for the Red Sox in his first five seasons in Boston, nobody deserves it more.

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About evonsports
30 year old sports enthusiast and aspiring writer from Boston.

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