Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Pedroia signs extension

The 2008 American League Most Valuable Player is now under contract with the Boston Red Sox for years to come.

Dustin Pedroia, the team's popular and remarkably productive second baseman, signed a six-year extension with the Red Sox today for $40.5 million, with a club option for a seventh year, the Globe's Amalie Benjamin and Tony Massarotti have confirmed. ESPN's Peter Gammons first reported the deal this afternoon.

The club will formally announce the news at a 3 p.m. press conference at Fenway Park, with Pedroia and general manager Theo Epstein in attendance.

Pedroia, 25, had a truly outstanding sophomore season with the Red Sox, batting .326 with 17 home runs and 83 RBIs while 20 bases en route to winning the AL MVP. He led the AL in hits (213), runs (118) and doubles (54), and also won the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards, becoming just the eighth player in league history to take all three honors in one season.

A club source told Benjamin that the Pedroia's representatives have been working on the deal since mid-August. Massarotti reports that Pedroia will receive a $1.5 million signing bonus and a $1.5 million salary in 2009. He will be paid $3.5 million in 2010, $5.5 million in '11, $8 million in '12, and $10 million in both 2013 and '14. The club option for '15 is for $11 million, or the Sox can buy him out for $500,000.

For the Red Sox, the significant point here is that they bought at least two of Pedroia's free agent years for $10 million per season. If the club exercises the '15 option, they will effectively have signed Pedroia, who is eligible for free agency in '12, to a three-year deal worth $31 million.

The benefit to Pedroia is that he guarantees himself a good deal of money now and gains a great measure of long-term security.

If the Red Sox exercise the option, Pedroia's contract will be worth $51 million over seven years, an average of just under $7.3 million per season. Without the option, the deal is worth an average of $6.75 million, which becomes Pedroia's average annual salary from 2009 to 2014. That $6.75 million is the number which will be used in the formula to determine the Sox' payroll for luxury tax purposes.

The option will increase to $13 million if Pedroia wins another MVP at any point over the next six years. Anytime he finishes in the top three of the voting, his option would increase by $1 million each time, capping at $13 million. At most, barring award incentives, the deal could be worth $53 million over seven years.

Just two years into his career, Pedroia has already achieved staggering success. His MVP award is the 10th in Red Sox history and the first by an AL econd baseman since Chicago’s Nellie Fox in 1959. He also joined Ryan Howard (2005-06) and Cal Ripken Jr. (1982-83) as the only players ever to capture the league MVP one season after being named Rookie of the Year, a distinction Pedroia earned in 2007.

This season, the Woodland, Calif. native established single-season Red Sox records by a second baseman for runs, hits, doubles, batting average, total bases and extra-base hits. He finished second among qualifying major league second basemen with a .992 fielding percentage.

He has a .313 batting average with 27 home runs and 140 RBI in 327 games with the Red Sox.