"This contract does represent an exception for us, and as we told Dustin in spring training, he's absolutely the right person to make an exception for," Cherington said. "It was the right thing to keep him here, hopefully for the rest of his career. I just know we're happy he's here, and there's no one we'd rather have as our second baseman."
As Cherington was speaking, Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz walked up and presented Pedroia with second base from the Fenway Park diamond. "This is for you, buddy," he said.
Pedroia is batting .306 this season with 25 doubles, six home runs and 58 RBIs. In his seven-year career -- all with the Red Sox -- he has a .303 batting average and an on-base percentage of .371.
Cherington said there had been no talk about making Pedroia captain, a role last held by catcher Jason Varitek before he retired in 2012. But that's only because Pedroia doesn't need to have a "C" on his uniform to show that he's a leader.
Rays manager Joe Maddon called Pedroia "a guy that plays the game properly, shows up every night, will be there in the difficult moments, will set the right kind of example."
"He's not the tallest guy in the world, but he's like everyman when it comes to this game," Maddon said. "He's the type of guy that fathers can watch the game with their kid and say, 'You can be Dustin Pedroia. Regardless of how big you are or not, just play with that type of verb intensity and enthusiasm.' It's good for the Red Sox. It's going to make it that much more difficult for us as far as competition."
The deal eliminates one uncertainty for a team that could see center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury become a free agent after the season. Of the position players on the 2007 championship team, only Pedroia, Ellsbury and Ortiz remain.
"I've come up with some guys that left. There's always that doubt," Pedroia said. "Always, in my heart, I felt like I would always play every game for the Red Sox. Just being here right now, this happening, it's pretty special to me and my family."