Sox Give Pedroia New Six-Year Contract

AL Most Valuable Player Dustin Pedroia and the Boston Red Sox agreed Wednesday to a $40.5 million, six-year contract.

The deal includes a club option for 2015. He would not have been eligible for free agency until after the 2012 season.

Pedroia led the AL with 213 hits, 118 runs and 54 doubles in helping the Red Sox win a wild-card berth. He batted .326 with 17 home runs and 83 RBIs and also stole 20 bases to become the first AL second baseman to win the MVP award since Nellie Fox in 1959 with the Chicago White Sox.

Heading into his third year in the majors, the 5-foot-9 second baseman has already won the Rookie of the Year and MVP -- joining Cal Ripken Jr. and Ryan Howard as the only players in baseball history to follow a rookie award with an MVP. He has also a Gold Glove, Silver Slugger, World Series ring and a level of financial security rare for a player with such limited experience.

And limited height.

"I'm not the biggest guy in the world. I don't have that many tools. If you saw me walking down the street, you wouldn't think I'm a baseball player," he said after being selected as MVP. "I had to overcome a lot of things to prove people wrong, and so far I've done that."

Pedroia's everyman build and scrappy approach made him a fan favorite at Fenway Park in a Red Sox lineup depleted by the short- or long-term absences of more established sluggers like David Ortiz, Mike Lowell, J.D. Drew, and Manny Ramirez.

The 25-year-old second baseman earns 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. He would earn $10 million each in 2013 and 2014.

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.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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