While rumors circulated that perhaps he would finally be headed elsewhere–namely the vastly different climate of Texas–designated hitter/colorful comment maker extraordinaire David Ortiz will be staying put with the Boston Red Sox for at least two more seasons. Ortiz and the reeling Sox agreed on a dual-year pact that is worth between $26 million and $30 million depending on mysterious incentives. We’re guessing the incentives involving plate appearance (PA) thresholds, but let’s not rule out Entire Pizzas Eaten (ePE) or Home Run-Induced Flatulence Occurences (HR-I FO).
Ortiz looked to be on the downside of his very good career a few seasons ago when he posted a .794 OPS in 2009, but he quickly rebounded and is once again a feared slugger who totally warrants the DH mantle. How long that will last is anyone’s guess, but he was excellent in 2012 (.318/.415/.611 with 23 HR in 383 PA) before injuries reared their ugly and inconvenient head. Ortiz can most likely be counted on to give the Red Sox a stable presence in the middle of the order; with his worst struggles well behind him it seems as if a .900 OPS and .400 wOBA are probably safe-ish bets at this point.
As deadly as Ortiz can be to pitchers, is he worth $13-$15 million a season in his age 37 and 38 seasons? He doesn’t/can’t play a defensive position, and watching him run the bases is a lot like watching that video tape from The Ring. That said, this deal makes plenty of sense for the Red Sox. So long as Ortiz plays consistently without having more health issues, he can probably shed a half-win each season and approximate the value of this extension without a problem. Plus, if this is the kind of bat the Red Sox need if they’re going to try and contend after a down year like 2012. He’s not going to break the bank or demand a long-term commitment, and he’s a nice saving grace for fans if the organization decides to do the mini-rebuild their trade last summer suggests may happen. This little re-upping is plenty logical for both sides, and it’s doubtful either party comes out looking foolish after the 2014 season is in the books. Plus, this could mean Ortiz gets a chance to finish his storied career in Boston unless he goes the Jim Thome route and takes a slugger-for-hire role with whoever will have him.