Long-term deal makes Pedroia exception for Sox

Long-term deal makes Pedroia exception for Sox
July 24, 2013, 6:45 pm
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BOSTON – Saying there is an exception for every rule, the Red Sox officially announced their 8-year contract extension with second baseman Dustin Pedroia. The new deal will take him through the 2021 season in a Boston uniform.
 
“This contract does represent an exception for us, and as we told Dustin in spring training, he's absolutely the right person to make an exception for,” said general manager Ben Cherington, referencing the team’s preference to not go beyond five years in deals with position players.
 
Still, if there was a player for whom the organization would be willing to make an exception, it would be Pedroia. Since being taken by the Sox in the second round of the 2004 draft out of Arizona State, Pedroia, the 2007 American League Rookie of the Year and the 2008 AL MVP, has become the heart and soul of the franchise as well as its de facto captain.  He represents the team well both on and off the field.
 
“He helps us win in all sorts of ways,” Cherington said. “From 2 o'clock to 7 o'clock every day he prepares better than anyone else in baseball, and that helps us.  He's always accountable after the game, and that's not always easy. And he's made a huge impact in the community as well.”
 
Pedroia, Cherington, and manager John Farrell sat a table on the Fenway Park lawn early Tuesday afternoon as team ownership – principal owner John Henry, chairman Tom Werner, and president Larry Lucchino --  along with several of Pedroia’s teammates, many team employees,  and Pedroia’s family – wife Kelli, sons Dylan and Cole –  looked on.
 
Pedroia, who turns 30 on Aug. 17, will be 38 when the deal expires.
 
“We had a real interest in finding a way to keeping him here,” Cherington said. “it was just a matter of finding a common ground. it took some compromise from all of us, but the overwhelming thing is we all wanted Dustin to be here, including Dustin himself.”
 
Prior to the extension Pedroia had been under Sox control through the 2015 season. In December 2008 he signed a six-year, $40.5 million deal with a club option of $11 million for 2015. The new deal, worth $100 million, now begins with the 2014 season.
 
“It was the right thing to keep him here, hopefully, for the rest of his career. . . . I just know we're happy he's here, and there's no one we'd rather have as our second baseman.”
 
“This place is the only place I’ve known since I started playing professional baseball, and it's my home,” Pedroia said. “I’ll try to do the right thing.
 
“I can't wait to be here and put on that uniform every day. it means a lot to me to be with my teammates and represent the city in the right way.
 
“I’ve come up with some guys that left. There's always that doubt. always in my heart, I felt like I would always play every game for the Red Sox. just being here right now, this happening, it's pretty special to me and my family.”
 
Henry said Pedroia approached him in spring training of 2012 about working out an extension.
 
“He came to me a year and a half ago about this, about wanting to spend his career here,” Henry said. “So it was just something we’ve been discussing now for a  year and a half. It’s difficult with any player who’s under contract for an extended period of time to re-up that far in advance. But it’s something we’ve been talking about and sort of preparing for for the last year and a half. I think it’s a great deal for both sides.
 
“I was surprised because it seemed free agency was so far away. And so I was just at that point trying to allay his concerns that we weren’t going to be serious about trying to resign him. so  in his mind the best way to do that was resign me early. And thankfully that’s what we were able to do.
 
“It’s not always the easiest place to play, and we’ve seen over the years a lot of players come in with great track records but just not be able to do it here, for whatever reason. He’s done it here. This was the right deal…I think it’s a great deal for both sides.”