A quick head-to-head look at the multi-year contract extensions doled out by the Texas Rangers to second baseman Ian Kinsler this past February and by the Boston Red Sox to second baseman Dustin Pedroia earlier today:
[Service time and age calculations both projected as of Opening Day (April 6th) 2009. Pedroia's pre-extension 2008 salary of $457,000 is obviously not included in the calculation of the total value of his new contract.]
They're both fine deals for player and team alike, with Pedroia sacrificing at least two and possibly three prime earning years for guaranteed financial security now (probably not the worst idea in light of the tumultuous financial times we live in). Just one guaranteed year of free-agent eligibility was bought out by the Rangers when they inked Kinsler to his own lucrative five-year contract; the last-year options attached to both deals are virtually identical.
Pedroia compensates for his disadvantage in the home run and walk departments relative to Kinsler with a higher batting average (which fuels a higher on-base percentage), more doubles, fewer strikeouts and superb defense that ultimately gives him a decent edge over his Texas counterpart in terms of total value; that said, Kinsler's avoidance of another fluky injury -- he was a legitimate 2008 American League Most Valuable Player candidate at the All-Star Break -- and a return to respectability glove-wise would measurably close the gap.