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Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Updated: December 5, 12:37 AM ET
Red Sox lock up Pedroia through 2015

By Peter Gammons
ESPN.com

The Red Sox wasted no time locking up American League MVP Dustin Pedroia with a six-year, $40.5 million contract, with an option for 2015, that takes them through three arbitration and two free-agent seasons.

"I wanted to be here a long time," Pedroia said at a Fenway Park news conference. "Hopefully in the next six years we can win some championships."

It is one of the four biggest nonarbitration deals ever, along with the contracts given to Hanley Ramirez, David Wright and Ryan Braun.

The 25-year-old second baseman will receive a signing bonus of $1.5 million and a salary of $1.5 million in 2009, followed by salaries of $3.5 million, $5.5 million and $8 million in what would have been his three years of arbitration eligibility. Pedroia would earn $10 million salaries in 2013 and 2014.

Pedroia
Pedroia

The deal, negotiated by agents Sam and Seth Levinson, also includes a team option to pay him $11 million in 2015 or buy him out for $500,000. If Pedroia is traded, the option would be voided.

If he wins another MVP, his 2014 salary and 2015 option would increase by $2 million each. If he finishes second or third, they would go up by $1 million each, and he can accomplish that escalator twice.

"He embodies just about everything we look for in a Red Sox player, and that makes this a great day for the organization," general manager Theo Epstein said. "Dustin plays hard, first and foremost, all the time. He plays to win. He plays for his teammates, not himself.

"What's not to like? If we had 25 guys like him, we'd be in good shape. I don't think we'd be the Red Sox right now without Dustin Pedroia."

Generously listed at 5-foot-9, Pedroia has quickly piled up a huge stack of hardware. Besides being named MVP, he also won a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger award this offseason. He was the 2007 AL Rookie of the Year and capped off that season with a World Series ring.

Pedroia led the AL in hits, runs and doubles in helping the Red Sox win the wild card. He batted .326 with 17 home runs and 83 RBIs and stole 20 bases.

Pedroia sacrificed -- actually, postponed -- the chance for a free-agent jackpot for an average annual salary of around $7 million and the chance to stay with the organization that picked him in the second round of the 2004 draft. He would be 32 when the contract expires, if the Red Sox pick up the option.

"I understood all that stuff. I understood that if I went year-to-year I probably would have made more money. But I'm in a place that I love," Pedroia said. "My first thought was, 'I play for the best team. Who wouldn't want to play for the Boston Red Sox? We're going to have a chance to win every year.' ... It fits."

The deal demonstrated how much the Red Sox value Pedroia's production, energy and leadership at a middle-infield position.

That the contract got done this quickly shows how much Pedroia loves playing in Boston and that he prefers playing to dickering over arbitration and free-agent dollars.

Peter Gammons covers Major League Baseball for ESPN. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.