To Dustin Pedroia, the Boston Red Sox's recent change of direction isn't a sign that the organization is rebuilding.
Actually, the Sox are reloading.
"Everyone thinks we're rebuilding or whatever," Pedroia told the Boston Herald on Thursday, "but we're not. We're close."
Pedroia admits he was stunned last Saturday when the Red Sox dealt Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford to the Los Angeles Dodgers in a nine-player blockbuster that will provide them with nearly a quarter-billion dollars in salary relief. In particular, he figured he would play alongside Gonzalez and Crawford for years, especially after both players signed long-term contracts with the Red Sox last year.
But Pedroia also believes the trade will give the Red Sox the fresh start they desperately need.
Going forward, Pedroia is at the head of a roster nucleus that also includes lefty Jon Lester, right-hander Clay Buchholz, center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, promising third baseman Will Middlebrooks and perhaps slugger David Ortiz, a free agent at season's end.
That isn't a bad building block. And after talking to general manager Ben Cherington last weekend, Pedroia is sure the Red Sox will be able to use their newly acquired financial flexibility to add to the group.
"He kind of explained the situation, and we appreciate that," Pedroia told the Herald. "He didn't need to do that. It's not one of those things where you're getting rid of everything and starting new. Yeah, we made a big move, but I think it puts us in position to make some changes and be who we want to be soon."
Meanwhile, with the Red Sox losing 5-2 Thursday against the Los Angeles Angels to fall a season-high eight games under .500, Pedroia will be playing strictly for pride in September, marking the first time in his career he's not in a playoff race.
"I don't really think that way," Pedroia told the Herald. "The way I think of it, every day is another opportunity to play well for your team. Don't even look at the standings, don't think about what's happened before this year, and try to be better as a player, as a team and as an organization."