|© Kayla Chadwick 2012|
Yes, I understand why some people have reservations about the length of the deal. One of Pedroia's greatest strengths is also one of his biggest risk factors: the man puts his body on the line every single play. Perhaps the best example of this dedication came during the very first game of the 2013 season, when Pedey dove headfirst into first base in the ninth inning - with the Red Sox already up by six runs.
He was out, which makes sense given that diving headfirst into first base nearly always slows you down much more than running through the bag, and he stood up with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left thumb. But the injury that might have sent a different player to the bench for two months of recovery was described by Pedroia as being "nicked up."
No one who pays attention to the Red Sox could claim that Pedroia isn't an injury risk: the all-in style of play fans love so much also makes us worry that any moment could bring on a season ending injury for the scrappy second baseman.
But I don't think Pedroia's value will deteriorate as quickly as some doomsayers are predicting. This is a guy whose game is based on getting on base and scoring runs by any means necessary. His career isn't built on raw speed or power, but on hard work and baseball smarts, two things that fade much more slowly than other skills.
If nothing else, Pedroia is the kind of player you want in your clubhouse, both to mentor young players coming up through the minors and to show incoming free agents how things work in Boston.
This deal is what Pedroia deserves. It's what fans want. I personally don't think I could handle seeing Dustin Pedroia come into Fenway Park wearing another team's uniform. Even if he's a shadow of his youthful self in the final season of his deal, I still want this guy in my corner in 2021.