Along with a hobby box of 1994, Ted Williams set, I acquired a handful of Red Sox cards for my player collections during my trip to the card shop. The store had a small row of Red Sox dime cards along with another row of cards that were marked as inserts and parallels that went from 50 cents to about 3 dollars each.
The first thing that instantly stood out was the abundance of 2017 Topps Allen & Ginter cards. They seemed to have the entire team set in one box, so I quickly picked up some singles that I had yet to get this year. I wonder how Topps chooses the color splotches to include on these cards since green and purple aren't the only colors on Red Sox cards as I've also seen orange. I guess they just try to switch it up by using a few colors per team.
Next, I began to focus on specific player collections, and the first of those was Xander Bogaerts. X-Man is one of just 6 players left from their 2013 World Series team (that number could very well shrink soon) and is unbelievably one of the longest-tenured Red Sox. That's surprising considering that the 2-time Silver Slugger is just 25 years old. Bogaerts has provided a fantastic balance of defensive and offensive ability over the last few seasons, and with a possibility of arbitration for the years 2018 and 2019, it would be smart to sign him to an extension before it's too late.
Another player whose time in Boston may sadly run out soon is Craig Kimbrel, who is a free agent after this year. Kimbrel was unbelievably within 2 strikeouts of striking out half of the batters he faced in 2017, which means he will ask for a lot of money if he keeps this performance up. However, he seems to have adjusted to playing well in Boston and has shown his consistency so it would be wise to not sign JD Martinez because of how much the power-hitter is asking for. But instead, lock up Craig Kimbrel for a multi-year deal.
Ortiz may have retired after the 2016 season, but after being last in the AL in homers, the Sox may have wished he stuck around. I still think a power-hitter could do the Red Sox good, but not for the insane price and length of the contract we'd have to give JD Martinez. Plus, they still won 93 games with that team so they did something right. A few minor tweaks here and there could definitely get them ready to make the Fall Classic in 2018.
But if there was one player that was showing his age in 2017, it was Dustin Pedroia. He's still the longest-tenured Red Sox and a fan-favorite which are some of the many reasons I like him. But Pedroia played in just 102 games this year which is very low considering that he's used to playing almost the whole season. And with the 2008 AL MVP expected to miss around 2 months of 2018 due to knee surgery, the Red Sox may have to plan ahead for their future at second base.
But Dustin Pedroia is still a favorite of mine, and he certainly helped the Red Sox win it all in 2007 and 2013. Without him, I don't know if the Sox would be where they are today, so while he may be getting up there in age, the Red Sox should know they owe a lot of where they are to Dustin Pedroia.