Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia has an MVP trophy sitting in his Arizona house from the 2008 season, but the three-time All-Star suggested that he suprassed his offensive performance from that MVP season in 2011. In his weekly appearance on The Big Show, Pedroia said that the 2011 season was the best of his career.
In 2008, Pedroia hit .326 with a .376 OBP, .493 slugging mark, .869 OPS, 17 homers, 54 doubles, 20 steals and 118 runs. In 2011, Pedroia hit .307/.387/.474/.861 with 21 homers, 37 doubles, 36 steals and 102 runs. The 28-year-old suggested that he had a more mature approach to hitting and a better understanding of how he could help his lineup, a development best evidenced by his career-high 86 walks.
"To be honest with you, last year, I thought I had a better year than 2008. I walked a lot more. I stole more bases. I didn’t get there with the runs scored, but I think as an offensive player, I remember in ’08, I think I walked 50 times," Pedroia said. "I was more of a hacker. I was up there trying to create instead of letting the game come to me. I was successful doing it. I found some holes. Let’s not kid ourselves, some balls fell in. It was good. I’m not saying it was a lucky .326 or whatever I hit, but now I’m smarter. I take my walks, which helps [Adrian Gonzalez], which helps [Kevin Youkilis]. If I’m on base more, our team is going to be that much better.
"I was able to do that last year. It helped me out. It helped put our team in a better position to score runs. I thought last year was probably my best offensive year."
Pedroia said that his offseason has been focused on the same goal that he embraces every winter, chiefly, improving his game in some facet.
"For an offensive approach, for me, I never look at numbers for evaluating how I was that year offensively. There’s only so many things I can change. You can hit the ball on a line five times, they catch all of them and you have nothing to show for it. You can hit five bleeders and they all fall in and you’re the greatest player ever," said Pedroia. "For me, I only want to get better every year. I want to get smarter every year. I want to know how pitchers are going to pitch to me, if I need to take more walks, steal more bases, score more runs."
Pedroia also touched on other topics. Among them:
The lineup: "I haven’t met with the coaches -- we have some new coaches – but whatever they ask me to do, I’m going to do. I don’t know where I’m going to hit in the lineup. They haven’t told me anything. Whatever they tell me to do, that’s what I’m going to concentrate on to help this team offensively."
On his foot, from which he had the screw removed: "I feel great. I feel good. I’m ramped up to workouts. I’m full go. Everything’s good. The foot feels good. I’m good to go. ... I think the biggest difference now is I can tell in my workouts. I’m recovering faster. Last year and during the season, if we played one of those 4 ½ hour games, 12 innings, a lot of pitches and a lot of pounding on my legs, I’d wake up the next day and it would be a grind getting out there. … Now I’m putting myself through all the workouts, and I’m waking up good as new. That’s definitely going to help me out for next season."
On new Sox teammate Andrew Bailey: "He’s got great stuff. I don’t think I’ve faced him that much, but the times that I have, I remember when I faced him, the cutter, that thing was like Mariano. That thing was tough to hit. He strikes out a lot of guys. He’s coming at you. From facing him, you see that confidence that he has out there on the mound. He’s always staring in at the glove. You can just tell that you’re in a battle when you face him. It’s a great move for us, we’re excited and I’m looking forward to getting out there."
On the Red Sox' offseason moves: "I think we’ve made the moves that we needed to make to help our team get a little bit better. Last year, we were one game away from getting to the playoffs. That’s all great, but I’m pretty sure I can speak for everyone in the organization when I say our goal is not to get to the playoffs. It’s to win the World Series. We have the talent to do that. I don’t think we needed to make a huge overhaul of our roster. We have great players. We have a great pitching staff. … We have as much talent as anyone in the major leagues. I don’t see any reason why we can’t go out there with the team that we have and compete for a World Series."