Earlier this week it was reported that the Red Sox were looking to sign Dustin Pedroia to a 5-year, $100 million contract extension. This was greeted as good news by Red Sox fans but now some are suggesting the extension would be folly.
These people don't know what they are talking about. Here's why.
The most obvious reason for doing a contract extension now is because of the looming Robinson Cano mega-payday. Signing Pedroia now for $20 million per year would easily save at least $5 million per year compared to what Pedroia would get in free agency after the Cano deal. That's $25 million over the course of the extension. Put another way - that's one full year of salary in case Pedoia gets hurt or in case by the end of the contract he's just washed up plus another $5 million which easily could be spent on insurance in case Pedroia missed more than one year. No brainer!
However, it is unlikely that Pedroia would be side-lined by a minor injury any time soon. Consider that earlier this year he played though a torn ligament in his hand and did not miss any playing time and last season Pedroia played through a broken finger. This guy comes to play every day. He is a great example to the younger players.
The other face of the franchise is David Ortiz. The team has over-payed Ortiz these past few years paying him year by year instead of locking him up a few years ago when they had the chance. The PR hit the team took was nothing compared to the hit they would take if they tried to nickel and dime Pedroia. The team knows the time is right for an extension.
This is one of the arguments Matthew Pouliot of Hardball Talk makes against giving Pedroia an extension: "Of Pedroia’s 10 most similar players through age 28, according to Baseball Reference, only one remained a star after age 32. That’s Charlie Gehringer, one of two Hall of Famers in his top 10."
I would point out that Pedroia won an MVP as a 2nd baseman. The only person on that list to do the same was Charlie Gehringer who hit .313 when he was 37-years old. Of the second basemen who won the MVP in the AL there's Pedroia, Gehringer, Joe Gordon (who was an all-star at 34-years old), and Hall of Famer Nellie Fox (who was an all-star at 35-years old). In the NL you had Jeff Kent (who played until he was 40 and was an all-star at 37), Joe Morgan (who also played till he was 40 and was an all-star at 35), Ryne Sandberg (played till he was 37), Frankie Frisch (played till he was 38 and was an all-star at 36) and Jackie Robinson (but I'm not going there because its unfair to Pedroia).
The players I listed above all have more in common with Pedroia than the Jose Vidro's some people would compare to Pedroia. And all of the people I listed were certainly worth taking a gamble on a contract extension when they were 29-years old.