Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz

With the signing of Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia being official now, let’s take a look at what Pedroia, Theo Epstein, Terry Francona and Larry Lucchino have to say about the extension.

Pedroia: “I’m extremely excited,” said Pedroia. “I definitely wanted to be here a long time and help the Red Sox win. Today, it happened, and hopefully the next six years, we can win some championships.

“My first thought about the whole thing was, ‘I play for the best team in the Major Leagues.’ Who wouldn’t want to play for the Boston Red Sox? We’re going to have an opportunity to win every year. The fans are the best. The city embraces their team, so why not? It fits.”

Epstein: “It’s something we’re thrilled about,” said Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein. “It’s definitely something we wanted as a club and something I think Dustin was looking to do as well. It came together as a product of a lot of hard work. He really embodies just about everything we look for in a Red Sox player. That makes this a great day for the organization.”

Francona: “Congrats to Pedey. I think this is a great day for him and [wife] Kelli, but I also think it is a great day for our organization. Everybody is to be congratulated. With the six-year contract, I feel like I got a bump in salary because of his cribbage skills.”

Lucchino: On behalf of John Henry, Tom Werner, and the entire Red Sox organization, I want to say that we are thrilled that Dustin has chosen to extend his contract with Boston Red Sox. Dustin’s style of play and tremendous work ethic have quickly made him a fan favorite throughout the city of Boston and all across Red Sox Nation. He plays with a kind of gritty determination that serves as an inspiration not only to his teammates but to Red Sox fans of all ages, and we believe Dustin will play a key role in helping to bring more championships to Fenway Park in the years to come.”

You have to love Tito saying he’s getting a raise from this as well. As you should know by now, Tito and Pedroia play cribbage before every game and obviously a small amount of money is exchanged. Maybe now Tito raises the stakes a little bit.

It truly is a great signing for the Red Sox though. They bought out his last pre-arbitration year plus his 3 arbitration years and two years of free agency for a price that fits into the market for young players. You also have to love the committment of Pedroia who doesn’t really care about the money (don’t get me wrong, he’s getting paid handsomely).

David Ortiz may be the voice of the Red Sox but Pedroia is the face of the Red Sox. His work off the field and his play on the field is an inspiration to those who are graced to watch him on a daily basis. I can only imagine how much smack talk Pedroia will be doing at API in Arizona this winter.

The Baseball Hall of Fame ballots are out and former Red Sox great Jim Rice has one final try at gaining enshrinement in Cooperstown. He garnered over 70% of the vote last season and should get in. Anything can happen though but I will say that Rice deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. Former Red Sox first baseman Mo Vaughn is a first-timer on the ballot this year.

Even Justin Masterson doesn’t know right now whether he’ll be starting or relieving for the Red Sox next season.

“As far as where that’s put me, I think it continues to leave me in the same spot that I have always been in,” Masterson wrote in an e-mail addressing the Ramírez trade. “That whether I will be starting or relieving is still up in the air.

“I don’t really think I’ll have much of an understanding of what it will be until I get to spring training and we go through that process. I will be coming in with the mindset of a starter just because it’s easier to go from that to reliever than think I’ll be a reliever and then move to a starter.”

One thing’s for certain, Masterson will definitely have some sort of role here. Personally, I think even if with the Ramirez trade, they should keep Masterson in the bullpen.

Baseball Winter Meetings start on Monday in Las Vegas and the Red Sox have some money to spend.

Tickets for the 2009 Pawtucket Red Sox season will go on sale Saturday and the prices will be the same as they were in 2008.

John Sickels has a look at the top 20 Red Sox prospects for 2009.