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Sam Galanis
Contributing Writer

When he was coming out of college at Arizona State, scouts thought Dustin Pedroia was too small to play in the majors. But the Red Sox took a chance with the 5-foot-8, 165 pound then-shortstop. Now, he’s showing how much he appreciates that by signing a seven-year $100 million contract extension into 2021 that pretty much assures he’ll retire a Red Sock.

"The Red Sox drafted me. A lot of teams passed on me because of my size and stuff like that," Pedroia said according to the Boston Herald. "That’s why I want to make sure I work as hard as I can to make sure that they made the right choice in drafting me and me being here my whole career. I just want to make sure I'm playing my last game here. That’s important."

AP Photo/Elise Amendola
Pedroia’s words were like a love letter to the Red Sox organization and its fans. At a time when it’s rare to see an athlete spend their entire career with one organization, it’s even rarer to see them do it in the way Pedroia did. Pedroia didn’t have to take this contract now. He would have been a free agent after next season. And, as the Herald pointed out, “with Robinson Cano, the only comparable second baseman in the American League, eligible for free agency this winter and angling for a $200 million contract, Pedroia could have used the Cano contract to extract more money from the Red Sox.” For Pedroia, it wasn’t about the money.

"I don’t look at it like that," he said. "I try to look at, I want to be in a place that’s special to me. This place has been that. It's the only thing I know. I love putting on the Red Sox uniform everyday. I'm a pretty loyal guy. I love being here. I live and die by this team. It’s important to me to be here my whole time."

Pedroia has been a key element in keeping the Red Sox machine running. In his first full season with the team in 2007, he was AL Rookie of the Year, and, of course, a World Series champion. He was the AL MVP the next year. He has a .303 career batting average with 96 home runs and 467 RBIs. And if there was any worry that he’d stop performing after receiving such a huge contract, Pedroia quieted that noise as well.

"You guys have all seen me since I had a little bit more hair,” he said, according to MLB.com. “I think I'll play the same way I do for every game I play to the end. That's about it."

Maybe the Red Sox will eventually make Pedroia a captain, like they did for Jason Varitek, their last career Red Sock. Maybe, if he keeps producing, they’ll hoist the number 15 up in right field. But Pedroia isn’t worried about that right now. He just wants to keep playing baseball in the city he loves.

"This is my home," Pedroia said, according to the Herald. "I love being here. I love my teammates, love this city."




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Sam Galanis 7/24/2013 02:00:00 PM Edit
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