Monday, March 24, 2014

Day 358: Deal is Done: Ortiz Will Finish Career in Boston

Well, David Ortiz got his way, like he always does. After a bit of a snippy spring where Ortiz, once again, voiced his desire to stay in Boston...for the right price, the Red Sox signed him essentially through 2017. If you're keeping track, Ortiz would turn 42 on November 18, 2017. But they haven't promised the money with no strings attached.

In 2014, Ortiz will make $15 million in the final year of his current two-year contract that was signed in 2012. The original total was $26 million, but with him spending fewer than 20 days on the DL in 2013, he'll earn an additional $4 million for a performance clause. The $15 million due to Ortiz this season ranks as the second highest salary behind Mike Napoli who signed a two-year, $32 million deal in December. The new deal signed on Sunday will pay Big Papi $16 million for the 2015 season. A club/vesting option is in place for 2016 that will kick in if he achieves a certain number of plate appearances, and then there's a club option for 2017.

It helps that the Red Sox will most likely have a number of low-paid players in the line up in 2014—Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Will Middlebrooks won't even be eligible for salary arbitration until after 2015. Frees up lots of moola for the big man.

I've been in that boat that doesn't necessarily agree with the way the Red Sox front office treats Ortiz differently than other players when it comes to negotiating contracts. In a time when teams just don't offer up $15 million deals to single-faceted players, Big Papi is bucking the trend and getting that big payday. But there's no denying that he's an integral part of the organization and the city of Boston. And it doesn't hurt that his contributions have had an immeasurable impact on the value of the team. Ortiz is the only player on the team who has been a part of all three of the most recent World Series Championships.

Who knows if Ortiz can maintain the same level of performance through the 2017 season, but at least there will come a time where he'll need to achieve some numbers in order to get paid. Maybe he'll even see this move by the team as a sign of respect and he'll stop moaning about it. Now let's just hope the current .057 spring training batting average is just a minor aberration.

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