The Boston Red Sox and Dustin Pedroia are discussing a contract extension that could exceed $100 million, make him the game’s highest-paid second baseman and could keep him with the team he has come to embody into the next decade, major league sources told Yahoo! Sports.
While one source said the parties still must bridge a gap in both dollars and years, both sides are motivated to strike a deal. The general framework of the contract could call for an annual salary in the $20 million range for a contract lasting five or six years – somewhere in the vicinity of the six-year, $100 million extension signed this offseason by Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria, sources said.
Pedroia, 29, has another year at $10 million remaining on his current deal, and the Red Sox own an $11 million option for 2015. Whether the new contract would replace the leftover years or add onto them remains another negotiating point.
After tabling discussions on an extension during spring training, the Red Sox and Pedroia’s representatives picked up talks during the All-Star break, sources said. They’re expected to continue discussions as the Red Sox look to bolster their pitching staff via trades for a run at winning the American League East, which they lead over the Rays by 2½ games. At 58-39, Boston owns the AL’s best record, and Pedroia is a large reason why.
Since his Rookie of the Year- and World Series-winning debut in 2007, Pedroia has been every bit as valuable as Robinson Cano, the New York Yankees’ second baseman expected to fetch $200 million-plus this offseason as a free agent. Pedroia won the AL MVP award in his second season and has consistently been one of the best hitters in the league.
He may be on the way to his best season yet. Pedroia is batting .316, and his career-high .396 on-base percentage ranks behind only Miguel Cabrera, Joe Mauer, teammate David Ortiz and Mike Trout. Pedroia is one of the few players in baseball with more walks than strikeouts – 51 to 49 – and advanced fielding metrics rank him among the best second basemen in the game.
After dumping the massive salaries of Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford last season, the Red Sox freed up money to pursue extensions with a franchise player such as Pedroia. He is among Boston’s favorite athletes, thanks to his cocksure attitude, sense of humor and mixture of natural playing ability that contrasts with a 5-foot-8, 165-pound body.
Related coverage on Yahoo! Sports:
• Blue Jays cool on trading pitcher Josh Johnson
• Biogenesis scandal clouds baseball's second half
• Yankees' Derek Jeter goes back on disabled list
• Power Rankings: Cardinals flying high once again