David Ortiz continued to be vocal about his contract situation with the Boston Red Sox earlier this week while he was speaking to the top 50 16-year-old prospects from the Dominican Republic and Venezuela at the MLB showcase in Santo Domingo. Big Papi has proclaimed that he has left all the negotiating to his agent and the Boston front office so he can concentrate on getting ready for Spring Training with the Red Sox. The slugger has been very vocal about his uncertain contract status since the end of the 2011 regular season, going as far as saying that he wouldn’t mind playing for the Yankees. There is no doubt that Big Papi is an impact player in the Red Sox line-up, but this is the point in his career where he needs to stop making contract demands.
Don’t get me wrong, Ortiz has had a fantastic career over his first 15 seasons in the Major Leagues and has become an icon in Boston, playing an integral role in helping the organization secure their first two World Championships since 1918. Since he arrived in Boston back in 2003, he has been in the top-five of AL MVP voting five times, has been selected to seven All-Star teams, and has won five Silver Slugger awards. Over the duration of his career with both Boston and Minnesota, he has a .283 average, .378 on-base%, .544 slug%, 378 home runs, and 1,266 RBI. Since Ortiz stayed healthy throughout 2011 and hit .309 with 29 home runs and 96 RBI, it’s safe to say GM Ben Cherington and the rest of the front office want Papi back for 2012, but I think he’s been quite unreasonable all winter.
It’s understandable that an established superstar of Ortiz’s caliber wants the security of having a multi-year deal, but as he’s nearing the end of his career, he shouldn’t be expecting to earn the same salary. He made $12.3 million in 2011 and feels that he should be receiving the same compensation for his service in 2012. However, the Red Sox did offer Ortiz a two-year/$18 million deal earlier in the winter, which he rejected immediately upon receiving the offer.
Going into his age 36 season, he shouldn’t be expecting the Red Sox to be willing to tie up approximately $12-13 million per year on their designated hitter, who will never step foot on the field with a glove in his hand. Outside of rejecting that offer, I haven’t heard Ortiz talk much about dollar figures, but more so about getting a multi-year deal. If having that security is so important, why did he reject a perfectly good two-year offer from the Sox? It’s not like that offer was an insult.
If a deal isn’t reached in time, the two sides will have to go to arbitration in order to settle on a figure for this upcoming season. Ortiz said that he wants to reach a deal before then, but he should have taken that original offer if he really wanted more than a one-year contract to stay in Boston. It will be interesting to see how the rest of this situation plays out and it’s far from over, so stay tuned.