Friday, July 26, 2013

A Celebration of the Pedroia Deal

As you know by now, Dustin Pedroia signed an extension with the Red Sox that will keep him playing in Fenway until he's 38. At first glance, this seems like another one of those absurd long-term baseball contracts that never seem to pan out at the end (A-Rod, Pujols, etc.). But there's a couple of mitigating circumstances that seem, to me, to make the deal a good one. They are:
  • The compensation is a bell curve. Rather than the most expensive years of the contract coming at the tail end, Dustin will be making his most money in the middle of the deal (2017-2019) and only (only?) 13 and 12 mil respectively in 2020 and 2021. This becomes even more important when you take into account the endlessly escalating salaries for players. if Pedroia is an average player at the end of this contract, the Sox will most likely be paying for an average player.
  • The Sox are averaging out the cost of his early years. Most arguments against these types of deals is that the teams are "paying for past performance. While i'm sympathetic to that argument, the fact is that Pedroia was a steal for many years. Fire Brand of the American League took at look at his 2008:
    In 2008 he had 213 hits, 54 doubles, 17 home runs, 20 stolen bases (and was only caught stealing once), and an outstanding .326/.376/.493 slash line. He posted an outstanding 6.9 WAR and was the starting second baseman for the AL All Star team. In addition to that, he took home the Silver Slugger, Gold Glove, and MVP awards. All of this from a player who celebrated his 25th birthday during the season, and pocketed a salary of just $457,000.
    So we can see his bigger salaries as evening out the cost of his earlier years. Of course, there's no guarantee that Pedroia will continue to be the excellent player that he currently is. But even if he becomes average, the value of the contract can be averaged out by looking at how much of a bargain he was for many years.
  • He'll be the face of the franchise. Currently, the only reason Dustin is not the main man on the Sox is the presence of one certain Large Father. But as impressive as Ortiz' late career resurgence has been, he won't be wearing the B for much longer and then Pedroia will be the main man on the team. Does this make sense from a baseball perspective? No. But from a business perspective - from the eyes of the owners who need to sell the team - it's a big deal to have a much-loved role model as the face of the franchise. I love the fact that "our guy" will be a 5'8" firecracker rather than some "perfect" player that has half of his personality.
  • Attitude. As a fan, I love how Pedroia plays the game. With passion, spunk, and unrelenting effort. I love the fact that he has never once talked or complained about his contract or how much money he has made. I love the fact that despite he's one of the best players in the league, he actively pursued a new deal that made him a Sox for live, regardless of the money. As he put it himself:
  • It was a no-brainer to me. This was a place where they gave me an opportunity to play professional baseball. I want to make sure I do all I can to prove to those people who take 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 team's second baseman. That's the way I look at it.
Anyways, that's just details. In the end, I just love watching the guy play. I'm excited to know that Pedroia will be in Boston until he retires - it's just no fun watching your favorite players go to other teams. So for the next 10 years, you'll find me wearing my #15 shirt and rooting for the little guy!

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