It’s no secret that the Boston Red Sox are looking forward to defending their World Series Championship from this past season, but the team knows that it won’t be an easy hill to climb. The atmosphere at the team’s Spring Training camp has been relatively relaxed by most accounts, but there’s also a certain aura of anticipation for the 2014 season and the group’s title defense to begin.
There are, of course, a few procedural items that might need to be addressed first – one of which could be a pending contract extension for one of the team’s most popular players, David Ortiz.
According to WEEI’s Alex Speier, Ortiz and his agent, Fern Cuza, met with members of the team’s front office (including representatives from the ownership group) sometime early Thursday afternoon. Speier isn’t able to pass along specifics from the conversation, but does note that while they discussed Ortiz’s contract status there were no formal offers made by either side. These were “just conversations”, according to a source.
Ortiz is entering his final year under contract in Boston and is slated to earn $15 Million in 2014. He’s expressed a desire to extend his contract for at least one more season, a public declaration made in early January that received a very mixed response. His situation is undoubtedly a unique one.
Ortiz just turned 38 this past November, coming off a 2013 season in which he batted .309/.395/.564 over 600 PA. While Ortiz’s bat doesn’t appear to be showing any signs of regression, it’s tough predicting what a market might look like for him if he were to reach free agency. Offensive power is always a highly sought-after commodity, but it’s no easy task finding an organization with both an opening at designated hitter and a willingness to pay such a high yearly salary for a player who doesn’t/can’t play the field on a regular basis.
Having earned roughly $155 Million during his career in Boston, there’ve been statements in recent days (even from Speier himself) suggesting that adding another year at the current rate (i.e. a one year, $15 Million extension) might be the best move that the organization can make in the coming weeks. Such a move would appease Ortiz, while ensuring that a vital piece of the team’s lineup remains in place. The move would also give the team some cost certainty, avoiding the possibility of having to discuss a new deal with Ortiz once he reaches the open market.