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Will baseball's new economy affect the Red Sox?

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  April 2, 2013 11:21 AM

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NEW YORK -- A number of standout players -- Felix Hernandez, Buster Posey and Justin Verlander among them -- have signed contract extensions in recent months.

It's part of a trend, teams realizing that paying out huge deals makes much more sense to players you developed and know well rather than showering money on free agents you don't. Teams flush with television money are tying up their homegrown stars.

The Sox avoided expensive free agents over the offseason, filling the gaps with two-year and three-year deals, none worth more than $39 million. That was by design.

Then came the news on Tuesday that Robinson Cano has left Scott Boras and signed up with CAA Sports, the agency fronted by Brodie Van Wagenen and associated with Jay-Z and Roc Nation Sports.

CAA players, in general, sign extensions and do not hit the market. The Yankees, obviously, must be thrilled with this development. Cano could be the next player to sign a big-money extension.

Will this trend affect the Red Sox? Jacoby Ellsbury, a free agent after the season, has not shown any interest in signing an extension with the Sox to date. He is a Boras client and seems committed to the idea of free agency.

But Jon Lester could be a candidate for an extension. He is signed through the end of this season and the team holds an option for 2014. Dustin Pedroia, although signed through 2014 with a team option for '15, also could be in that line. The same will be true for Will Middlebrooks if he has a strong season.

It's far too early to speculate on what the future holds for Jackie Bradley Jr., a Boras client. The Sox will probably find a way to send him down for the 20 days needed to delay his free agency.

But who's to say what Bradley thinks his right for his future?

Worth noting: Jered Weaver, a Boras client, agreed to an $85 million extension in 2011. While Boras does encourage his clients to find their worth in the market, it is ultimately up to the player.

A few other off-day thoughts:

Pedroia missed 111 games from 2010-12 because of assorted injuries that were largely out of his control. He fouled a ball off his left foot in June of 2010 and missed all but two games the rest of the season. Pedroia tore a muscle in right thumb last May and missed six games. Then the same injury put him on the disabled list in July.

Pedroia ended the season with a torn ligament in the pinky finger on his right hand that required surgery and a broken ring finger on his left hand. The point is that the Red Sox second baseman, while durable for much of his career, is not bulletproof. Yet there he was in the ninth inning on Monday, with the Sox up by six runs, diving into first base. He was out.

Pedroia was spotted talking to Red Sox medical staffers afterward about his right hand. He said he was fine and he did stay in the game for the bottom of the ninth inning. It's uncertain to what degree he was injured, if any.

The larger point is that diving headfirst into first base is almost never a good idea because it slows you down. Unless you are avoiding a tag, it's a bad play and puts a player in danger of injury. Pedroia knows better than to be reckless like that. If not, he should.

The Red Sox woke up today in first place. The last time they were in first place? Sept. 1, 2011.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia walked three times on Monday. That has happened twice in 475 games for him.

The Sox scored eight runs on Monday. They scored seven runs in the three games against the Yankees that ended last season.

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