The Red Sox and David Ortiz will likely come to common ground on a contract extension at some point, but the timetable on when that will occur seems to be different on each side.
Ortiz had told reporters at his charity golf tournament in the Dominican Republic that his representatives have already reached out to the Red Sox about an extension, but team sources indicate that there have been no contract extension talks yet. There may have been an introductory conversation between Ortiz’ agent, Fern Cuza and the team, but nothing formal.
The Red Sox have been under the impression since the completion of Ortiz’ current two-year deal last offseason that a new deal wouldn’t be discussed until after Ortiz’s contract was up after this season. But only the Red Sox seem to remember the conversation.
The Red Sox don’t want to get into a war of words with their star hitter. Things, of course, have changed since that contract was completed.
Ortiz, who will earn $15 million this season (as part of a 2-year, $30 million deal), got over his Achilles’ heel problems and had a great season. He earned a $50,000 bonus for making the All-Star team. Ortiz earned a $1 million signing bonus and a $14 million salary in 2013. Because he spent fewer than 21 days on the disabled list, his 2014 salary went from $11 million to $15 million.
He also won the World Series MVP.
You can’t blame him for trying to cash in on that. Any extension would likely mean a sizable raise that could push him closer to $20 million.
Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington has said he wants Ortiz to finish his career in Boston. That will likely happen, but Cherington has a few other things to do before he can get to Ortiz, namely finish team-building for the 2014 season.
The Red Sox are still exploring deals since they have an extra veteran starting pitcher to trade. They are also trying to add to their bullpen.
The team also has to decide on whether to engage in contract talks with Jon Lester’s representatives since Lester will be playing in his option season. Most teams don’t like to go this far to tie up an ace pitcher who can go into free agency at the end of the season. But Lester’s excellent postseason has now put him in position to make big demands.
We’re all waiting to see whether Lester accepts a Dustin Pedroia-type hometown discount deal, or whether he’ll head into the market like Jacoby Ellsbury.
At some point Ortiz and the Red Sox will sit and chat this winter, but it may not be as quickly as Ortiz wants, nor may it be as far down the road as the Red Sox had intended after they signed Ortiz last offseason.