When it comes to the second base market, the impending free agency of Robinson Cano has received the most attention. It’s Boston’s Dustin Pedroia, though, that is making a splash first, agreeing to a 7-year, $100 million extension with the Red Sox.
The deal will include a full no-trade clause, which is notable considering how Boston hit the reset button on their past two big money signings last season when they shipped Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford to Los Angeles. Pedroia was already signed through 2014 with a club option for 2015. The new deal with start in 2015, replacing that option year, and run through 2021 — Pedroia’s age-37 season.
Pedroia has hit .303/.371/.457 over his 8-year career, and is sitting at .308/.385/.422 this season. Since breaking into the big leagues in 2006, Pedroia has accumulated 32.3 fWAR, second most among all second basemen during that time, and behind only Cano (35 fWAR).
With that in mind, this seems like a very good deal for the Red Sox, as Pedroia would likely command quite a bit more on the open market if he were allowed to hit it — especially with the benefit of seeing what Cano gets. Still, with this deal, Pedroia gets the benefit of security past 2015, and with the full no-trade clause, figures to be a “Red Sox for life” guy.
There may be some concern on Boston’s end about paying Pedroia so much money into his late 30s, but considering how much of Pedroia’s value is rooted in his ability to get on base — a skill that doesn’t erode as quickly as speed or power — he should still be a solid bat for the duration of the deal. He’s also a solid defender, and playing second base, there’s less worry about him losing range as he ages, like a certain shortstop in New York. In the end, it’s a solid gamble by the Red Sox front office.
In terms of how this will affect Cano’s eventual payday, it doesn’t seem like it will all that much. Cano was looking for more than $100 million to begin with, and has given no indication that he’s willing to take a discount to stay with the Yankees. He’ll get his money, either from New York or somewhere else, and that was likely going to be the case before Pedroia struck this deal.