BOSTON -- Dustin Pedroia has officially become the first second baseman in Major League Baseball to cross the $100 million threshold. In an on-field press conference Wednesday afternoon, the Boston Red Sox announced a contract extension with the former MVP that goes through the 2021 season.
"It was no-brainer to me. This is the place where they gave me an opportunity to play professional baseball," Pedroia said. "I want to make sure I do all I can to prove those people who took a chance on me right. I'm not here to set markets or do anything like that. I want to make sure the team I'm on wins more games than the other teams' second basemen. That's the way I look at it. Our job is to win games and that's what I play for."
Terms of the contract were not announced, but the Sox reworked terms for 2014, the final year of his previous deal, making it an eight-year, $110 million package, according to an industry source. Some of the money is deferred, and there is a limited no-trade clause, meaning Pedroia has the right to veto a trade to a select number of teams.
The deal calls for a signing bonus of $1 million, the source said, and yearly salaries of $12.5 million in 2014 and 2015, $13 million in 2016, $15 million in 2017, $16 million in 2018, $15 million in 2019, $13 million in 2020 and $12 million in 2021.
The most Pedroia will be paid in straight salary over the life of a contract is the $16 million he will earn in 2018. The average annual value of his contract is $13.75 million, which ranks second among MLB second basemen to Ian Kinsler of the Texas Rangers, who signed a five-year, $75 million contract extension early in the 2012 season that pays him an average annual salary of $15 million, with $16 million his highest single-season salary.
Pedroia's average annual salary ranks as the second-highest on the Red Sox roster, behind pitcher John Lackey ($16.5 million), and ranks eighth all-time among contracts given by the Red Sox, just behind J.D. Drew ($14 million) and well short of the $20 million-plus average annual salaries of Adrian Gonzalez ($22 million), Carl Crawford ($20.2 million) and Manny Ramirez ($20 million). Gonzalez and Crawford were traded to the Dodgers last August; Ramirez is attempting a comeback in Triple-A with the Rangers.
According to Red Sox principal owner John W. Henry, who watched from the side at the news conference in which Pedroia was flanked by general manager Ben Cherington and manager John Farrell, Pedroia first approached the club about an extension in spring training of 2012.
"It's difficult, I think you'll understand, with any player who's under contract for an extended period of time to re-up that far in advance," Henry said. "But it's something we've been talking about, sort of preparing for, in the last year and a half. I think it's a great deal for both sides."
Henry said he was taken aback when Pedroia approached him with three years still left on his deal.
"Well, I was surprised because free agency was so far away,'' the owner said, "so I was just at that point trying to allay his concerns that we weren't going to be serious about trying to re-sign him. I think in his mind the best way to do that is 're-sign me early,' and thankfully that's what we were able to do."
In the wake of the Crawford and Gonzalez experience, the Red Sox had expressed an aversion to contracts of such length (seven years in both cases).
"This contract does represent an exception for us," Cherington said, "[but] as we told Dustin in spring training, he's absolutely the right person to make an exception for and we're thrilled that we're sitting here."
Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino had repeatedly stated last winter that the Sox were opposed to such long-term deals, but he left open the possibility that an exception could be made, perhaps already with Pedroia in mind.
"We're not going to get into seven-, eight-year deals as we have done before," he said last November. "What we have ruled out is the kind of long-term, gigantic commitment to players, if at all possible. We're not going to set a hard-and-fast rule that says nothing will ever be done along the following lines. We'll always have some kind of exception to a general presumption."
On Wednesday, Lucchino explained why the club made an exception for Pedroia.
"I think these players are mostly referred to as franchise players, some of the ones who have gotten longer-term deals in advance of their free-agency years," he said. "And there are several out there that are even longer than this. Troy Tulowitzki's longer, 10 years. David Wright may be 10 or 12 years, if you count their remaining years plus the new years.
"They are players that are exceptions, but as far as the aversion we have toward long-term deals, as Ben said so well, there's an exception to every rule and a caveat for every policy. Dustin is the exception; he's the caveat."
Kyle Brasseur is a contributor to ESPNBoston.com.