Boston Red Sox: Why Boston Shouldn't Extend Dustin Pedroia

Benjamin KleinContributor IIINovember 19, 2012

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 28:  Dustin Pedroia #15 of the Boston Red Sox reacts after flying out in the seventh inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 28, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
Greg Fiume/Getty Images

Dustin Pedroia has been one of the most productive and consistent members of the Boston Red Sox since 2007, but that doesn’t mean that Boston has to give him a contract extension.

Pedroia is one of the grittiest players in the game, and he is regarded as one of the top second basemen as well. His ability to hit close to .300 with legitimate power numbers each season makes him a contender for the Silver Slugger, while his defensive prowess is nearly second to none.

Pedroia is just one of a few players who have won both the Rookie of the Year and the Most Valuable Player award, doing so in 2007 and 2008, respectively. He’s a three-time All-Star, a Gold Glover and a Silver Slugger recipient. Despite a poor Red Sox campaign in 2012, he still hit .290/.347/.449 with 15 home runs, 65 RBI and 81 runs.

Pedroia’s current contract status clearly favors the Red Sox. He will soon enter the fifth year of a six-year deal that has a total worth of $40.5 million. Last season, Pedroia earned $8 million. He’s set to make a base salary of $10 million over the next two seasons, and the Red Sox hold an $11 million team option for 2015.

The 2015 option becomes void if Pedroia wins the MVP in 2008—which he did—and if he’s traded—which obviously hasn’t happened.

Joe McDonald of ESPN Boston writes that Boston intends to start talking a long-term extension with their star second baseman.

With such an advantageous contract, the Red Sox shouldn’t feel the need to extend Pedroia past 2015 just yet. Giving him an extension would only increase the upcoming yearly salaries that would decrease the amount of money that the Red Sox could spend elsewhere. The Red Sox already have a second baseman under contract, while they have much more severe voids at other positions.

Pedroia has been the perfect second baseman for Boston over the years, but it could be the right move to let him walk after the 2015 season—assuming that the club will exercise the $11 million option. But don’t worry, because the Red Sox would be more than ready to replace him.

Although Boston doesn’t have a clear-cut shortstop for the 2013 season, they have plenty of great shortstop prospects developing in their farm system. It’s still unclear whether Jose Iglesias is the future shortstop or not, but time will tell and from there, the bigger picture will be much easier to see.

Boston currently has at least four candidates to be the future shortstop of the franchise, and that doesn’t include Iglesias. Xander Bogaerts will be the first to get a shot, but it’s uncertain if his size will allow him to stay at short. He’s not much of a second-base candidate, but if Iglesias starts to hit well, maybe the Red Sox would move him to second instead.

Following Bogaerts should be Jose Vinicio, Deven Marrero and Tzu-Wei Lin—who should all be major league-ready by the start of the 2016 season, if not earlier. Obviously, not all of these prospects are going to be Boston’s shortstop, so some of them are going to have to move.

Vinicio seems like he would stay at shortstop, but Marrero and Lin would both make solid second basemen. Both are above-average defensively and are still young enough to make the transition.

Pedroia will only be 31 years old by the time the 2015 season rolls around, but he has had his fair share of injuries recently. He’s had foot injuries in the past and thumb issues in 2012. Would these ailments plague contract discussions? Possibly, but David Ortiz has been oft-injured and that didn’t stop the Red Sox from re-signing him.

Letting  Pedroia walk would certainly be a tough decision, but with so many prospects up and coming through the system, they’ll be more than prepared to make a change.