BOSTON -- One is a dirt dog type of player, gritty and fearless. The other is a natural, so smooth he makes it look almost too easy.
Dustin Pedroia and Robinson Cano are the second basemen of the Red Sox and Yankees, respectively. They are 10 months apart in age, with the 30-year-old Cano being the senior man in years on the planet and time in the big leagues.
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They each have a World Series ring. Pedroia was the Rookie of the Year in 2007; Cano was runner-up in 2005. Cano is a five-time All-Star, Pedroia four. Pedroia won the AL MVP award in 2008; Cano's highest finish was third in 2010.
Both are getting close to a huge payday. Cano, who is making $15 million this season, is a free agent at season's end and is said to be looking for more than $200-million on a 10-year deal with his new agent, Jay Z.
Pedroia, who is locked up until the end of next season at $10 million per year, reportedly was offered a five-year extension by the Red Sox over the All-Star break for about $100 million.
Pedroia ran for Cano at first base in last week's All-Star Game after Cano was hit by a Matt Harvey pitch. They may be forever linked in a Yankees-vs.-Red Sox who-would-you-rather-have debate . . . unless Cano doesn't re-sign with the Yankees.
The Pedroia extension-talk news probably had the Yankees asking themselves: Is Cano really worth twice as much in terms of dollars and years as his Boston counterpart?
Cano went into Sunday night's series finale at Fenway Park batting .302 with 21 HRs and 67 RBIs. His season WAR (wins above replacement, according to Baseball-Reference.com) is 4.8. His career WAR since he debuted in 2005 is 42.4; his career OPS is .859.
Pedroia was batting .313 with six home runs and 56 RBIs. His season WAR is 4.7. His career WAR since he debuted in 2006 is 36.3, and that includes a negative 0.8 in his first taste of big-league play. His career OPS is .829.
Both made errors in Saturday's 5-2 Yankees victory, but they each have won two Gold Glove awards.
Both have been tight-lipped about their contract status. Pedroia told reporters here, "I just leave my agent and the Red Sox to deal with it. My job is to come in here and play baseball and to help us win games."
Cano brushes aside contract questions, saying his focus is on the field.
"Next question," he said with annoyance on Tuesday at the All-Star Game. "I'm not saying anything about the contract."
He politely repeated that stance Sunday night before talking about how much he admires Pedroia.
"He's fun to watch," Cano said. "I love to see him hitting, in the field. He's the heart of that team. You can tell when he's on the field, he wants to win. He's one of those guys who goes out there and gives everything they've got."