05 November 2010
Peter Abraham of Extra Bases talked with Theo Epstein about David Ortiz and his $12.5 million option for the 2011 season:
Question on picking up the option and whether a multi-year deal was explored: “We’re very happy to get this resolved today in a manner that was ultimately acceptable to both parties. David is a player who is very important to our ownership and to our fans and given these feelings, the fact that he’s still very productive and the fact that there was a one-year solution built in to the contract, this seemed like not only the most likely outcome but the one that balanced all the various factors in the most appropriate manner.
"David did express an interest in a multi-year deal to us, as well as publicly. We explored that. But we couldn’t find anything that made as much sense as the one-year commitment. In the end, David understands this outcome, is very much OK with it and in the end is committed to the 2011 Red Sox.”
Question on possibility of a longer deal: “Well, we explored it and it just didn’t work out in the end. Both sides through it made sense to fall back on the one-year solution. We never say never; things could always come up that cause you to turn in a new direction. But I think at this point, the feeling is that we explored it, it didn’t work out. Both sides, for a lot of reasons, were fine going to the one-year mechanism that was already built into the contract and moving forward and happy and focusing on 2011.
Ortiz bounced back from an awful 2009 season with a .270 BA, 32 ding dongs and 102 RBI. I can see why he wanted an extension, but he turns 36 next this month and his stats against lefrties are frightening: .222 BA, .599 OPS, 2 HR, 24 RBI. That means the Red Sox are paying 12 mil for a 36 year old DH that can't hit lefties. Not good for the Sox, but they needed to make a decision here and I commend them for not extending Big Papi as a thank you for past success or because he's a fan favorite.
If you read the entire interview with Theo, it's clear that "ownership" had a major role in this decision. My guess is Theo was ready to cut bait and go after a guy like Adam Dunn, but after watching ratings drop dramatically in 2010 due to mediocre play and the loss of key players like Pedroia, Ellsbury and Youkilis, I can see when the front office wanted to keep a Ortiz around.
Bottom Line: I don't like paying Papi twice his value, especially when we have so many other holes to fill (3B, C, OF, RP) but, there's still plenty of cash in the piggy bank. I think Ortiz can give us anothe 30/100 season, but if the Sox replace Beltre and V-Mart with guys like Lowrie and Saltalamacchia... Ortiz and Youk aren't going to see many good pitches...