- The Red Sox and DH David Ortiz agreed to a new 2 year contract worth around $26 million on Friday night. Ortiz will enter his 11th season in a Red Sox uniform next season and will be signed for a 13th as well.
Ortiz’ season ended on the same day that the blockbuster trade with the Dodgers was made in late August due to an injured achilles. Before the injury Ortiz was enjoying a productive year, hitting .318 with 23 home runs and 60 RBI in only 90 games. He looked to be in better shape as well while he was healthy and he showed a bit more speed in his older age. Ortiz’ Achilles’ tendon flared up in late July while he was hustling to 2nd base on what turned out to be a Adrian Gonzalez home run. He came back for only one game in August before shutting it down for the season. He had surgery after the season to repair the Achilles injury and is expected to be 100% by the start of spring training.
There are two big reasons why re-signing Ortiz was important for this crucial off-season. The first is that, along with Dustin Pedroia, Ortiz is the spiritual leader of the Red Sox clubhouse. He’s been that guy for the past decade. In a season where the Sox will be looking to plug rookies and young players from smaller markets into key roles a guy like Ortiz will be important in the clubhouse. The second point is that the Red Sox are eager to get back to the OBP and OPS success they had in Terry Francona’s early years as manager. Ortiz, along with Manny Ramirez, was the poster boy for that style of offense in its Red Sox hey day. Having Ortiz in the middle of the lineup will be key not only for Ortiz himself working the deep pitch counts and producing runs but as an example for the young players coming up and settling into the lineup.
The Red Sox gave Ortiz a qualifying offer earlier in the day, a move that proved moot. Ortiz was the only player the Red Sox tendered. They declined to tender Cody Ross, James Loney, Daisuke Matsusaka, Vicente Padilla, Scott Posednik and Aaron Cook. The biggest name of the bunch is Ross and he is still in play, just not at the $13 million that the Red Sox would have to pay with a qualifying offer. Also of note it appears that the Dice-K era in Boston is mercifully over.