Before we get to discussing Dustin Pedroia’s reported new seven year, $100 million contract extension with the Red Sox, let’s please review this video of the Brooklyn Nets’ introductory press conference for Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Jason Terry. (We’re going somewhere with this, promise.) Skip to about 3:45.
Do you see how sad Paul Pierce is? Paul Pierce is so sad. He’d said many times that he wanted to finish his career with the Celtics, but when push came to shove, he didn’t really have any control over his destiny. KG may have had a no-trade clause (which he of course waived), but Pierce, after 15 seasons with the Green, didn’t have an ounce of leverage.
So, off the bat, Pedroia’s new deal, which reportedly includes a no-trade clause, will prevent this scene from ever repeating itself. Thank goodness—who wants to see Dustin Pedroia that sad? Just like Pierce, he’s been quoted as saying he wants to finish his career in Boston. Now he’ll be able to stay as long as he wants. (Granted, the NBA’s salary cap made Pierce’s situation much more complicated than Pedroia’s.)
The deal seems to be a classic years-for-money swap: the contract, which will run through 2021, when Pedroia is 38, is probably a few years longer than the Red Sox might have liked. But with Pedroia earning an average of $14.3 million per year, it’s much less than he could have gotten on a per year basis on a shorter deal. For those who are into metrics and wins-of-above-replacement stats, Jonah Keri has a great breakdown at Grantland of why the contract makes eminent sense for the Red Sox.
If there’s one criticism of the deal, it’s that, by the end of the contract, the Red Sox could be stuck paying $14.3 million per year to an old middle-infielder pushing 40 who’s no longer worth it. But I am here to tell you, Red Sox fans, not to worry about it. That’s because in 2020 and 2021, $14.3 million probably won’t be considered that big a contract. For the last several years, even through the teeth of the recession, baseball revenue—and therefore baseball salaries—have done nothing but rise.
Salary growth has been even greater on the high-end of the scale. On opening day in 2006, there were exactly 17 players making $14 million or more. This season, the number was 49. For those keeping score at home, that’s an increase of nearly 200 percent.
There’s no reason to think that salaries won’t continue to balloon. Seven years from now, how many players do we think will be making $14 million or more? 75? 100? 150? You’d be OK with Dustin Pedroia, even at age 38, being the 100th best paid player in the league, right? Especially since we know the Red Sox are already getting a bargain on the front-end of the contract. The point here is that unless there’s some sort of unforeseen, cataclysmic drop-off in revenue for Major League Baseball and the Red Sox in the next seven years, The Laser Show’s new contract isn’t just a good deal today, it very well might be one in 2020 and 2021, too.
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