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As great as he is, signing Dustin Pedroia long-term is risky business for Red Sox

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff  July 23, 2013 08:02 AM

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Pedroia's list of comps doesn't offer much more peace of mind. His most similar player from ages 26-28 is Jose Vidro. The peak of the unsung Vidro's career looks remarkably similar to Pedroia's:

Year Age Tm G PA AB R H 2B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
1997 22 MON 67 185 169 19 42 12 2 17 1 11 20 .249 .297 .367 .664 74
1998 23 MON 83 245 205 24 45 12 0 18 2 27 33 .220 .318 .278 .596 61
1999 24 MON 140 531 494 67 150 45 12 59 0 29 51 .304 .346 .476 .822 108
2000 25 MON 153 663 606 101 200 51 24 97 5 49 69 .330 .379 .540 .918 126
2001 26 MON 124 531 486 82 155 34 15 59 4 31 49 .319 .371 .486 .856 119
2002 27 MON 152 681 604 103 190 43 19 96 2 60 70 .315 .378 .490 .868 124
2003 28 MON 144 592 509 77 158 36 15 65 3 69 50 .310 .397 .470 .866 121
2004 29 MON 110 467 412 51 121 24 14 60 3 49 43 .294 .367 .454 .821 108
2005 30 WSN 87 347 309 38 85 21 7 32 0 31 30 .275 .339 .424 .763 104
2006 31 WSN 126 511 463 52 134 26 7 47 1 41 48 .289 .348 .395 .744 96
2007 32 SEA 147 625 548 78 172 26 6 59 0 63 57 .314 .381 .394 .775 109
2008 33 SEA 85 330 308 28 72 11 7 45 2 18 36 .234 .274 .338 .612 65
12 Yrs 1418 5708 5113 720 1524 341 128 654 23 478 556 .298 .359 .445 .804 108
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/23/2013.


Thumbnail image for vidrojosefinn722.JPGAnd his fade was painfully fast. Some of that decline was due to injuries, and Vidro wasn't the mostly finely conditioned athlete of the 21st century. But again, it's at least a small reminder: second base, to paraphrase semi-fictional Ron Washington from "Moneyball,'' is incredibly hard.

If you're skeptical, imagine yourself waiting for a throw from the third baseman while just out of your line of vision, Yasiel Puig is barreling toward your left knee with the ferocious intent of breaking up a double play no matter what it takes. Me, I'd go fetal roughly 20 feet behind the bag. Make it straightaway center field just to be safe.

Second base is a tough position to endure even if you play with self-preservation in mind. Dustin Pedroia has never played with self-preservation in mind. It's one reason why Boston loves him like it loved Neely, a player who was robbed of the years beyond his prime and thus never faded in our eyes.

If a player is going to make $20 million per year, sure, it might as well be Pedroia, if you want to look at it in a vacuum, with no consideration to how it might affect team-building, the salary structure, and so on. But if this contract is a five-year extension rather than one that starts anew next year -- and it is apparently the former, with an average annual value of roughly $15 million -- here's a suggestion to tuck away for future reference:

Make a note to remember how fun he was to watch when he signed this deal. Because as adept as he has been at proving doubters wrong, chances are that in 2019 and beyond, Pedroia, will bear only a faint resemblance to the player he is now.

About Touching All The Bases

Irreverence and insight from Chad Finn, a Globe/Boston.com sports writer and media columnist. A winner of several national and regional writing awards, he is the founder and sole contributor to the TATB blog, which launched in December 2004. Yes, he realizes how lucky he is.

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