The Red Sox are selective about the young players they sign to long-term extensions. That isn't stopping second-year third baseman Will Middlebrooks from speaking his mind on the subject, though. While the word "extension" was never uttered, his openness to one can certainly be inferred from his quotes in this piece by ESPN Boston's Joe McDonald:

"I would give anything to play here my whole career," Middlebrooks said. "Everyone wants to play in a market like this. Everyone wants to play on a team like this. Well, not everyone, because it does take a certain player. There have been plenty of players to come through here who hated it. It's hard to play here. If you don't like pressure, you don't want to play here. But I like it and it motivates me to do well because I don't want to disappoint anybody."

MIddlebrooks thinks he's the kind of guy who can handle the pressures of Boston, and his first stint in the majors has done little to dissuade analysts from that point of view: the 23-year-old hit .288/.325/.509 in his first 76 big-league games, despite sharing the stage and pressure of success with the now-departed Kevin Youkilis. Middlebrooks didn't get to finish the year out due his season-ending broken wrist, but is expected to be fully recovered from the effects of the injury in time for the 2013 campaign. It's there that Middlebrooks will get the chance to start to prove he belongs in the rare company of Boston extensions for young players.

It's not that the Red Sox are averse to extensions for their talented youth, it's just that they don't always get the opportunity to ink their players to deals that are both team- and player-friendly. Jonathan Papelbon and Jacoby Ellsbury both eschewed extensions in favor of taking arbitration year-by-year, and Daniel Bard's development and any potential extension talks were both knocked off course by his horrid 2012. Jon Lester, Dustin Pedroia, Clay Buchholz, and the aforementioned Youkilis have all signed these kinds of deals, though.