The Red Sox announced on Sunday night they have signed designated hitter David Ortiz to a one-year, $16 million extension. The deal will extend the slugger’s current contract through the 2015 season.
The extension also includes a vesting option for the 2016 season, based on plate appearances, and a club option for the 2017 season. Ortiz will receive a $1 million bump over his 2014 salary and now stands to end the rampant speculation as to if/when the Red Sox and the nine-time All-Star would reach an agreement regarding his future.
“With this agreement, we have near certainty that David Ortiz will finish his career in a Red Sox uniform, which is something we have all wanted and that we are all proud of,” said owner John Henry. “It is difficult to describe David’s contributions to our city both on the field and off the field, and we are so proud to have this ambassador of our game with us as he continues on this road to Cooperstown.”
Money Well Spent?
There has been a strong undercurrent to the yearly Ortiz contract saga questioning whether or not signing a designated hitter, at such an advanced age, is worth it. The Sox have had their fair share of detractors when they inked Ortiz to a two-year $30 million deal at the end of the 2012 season.
The arguments have merits on both fronts. Typically, multi-year deals given to aging players end poorly and, signing a DH-only, limits a ball club’s roster flexibility.
That all sounds great in theory, but David Ortiz is not your typical player and not your typical DH. By all accounts, Ortiz is paid largely on past performances. Ortiz has played a large part in molding this era of Red Sox baseball. As a three-time world champion, an ambassador for the game and pillar within the community, Ortiz’s value to the organization transcends the everyday box score.
The Sox have access to resources that most clubs simply cannot match. Ortiz has carried the team to three World Series crowns and is still largely motivated to win. A winning attitude and an overwhelming desire to be the best at your position is not something that money can buy.
In 2013, Ortiz hit .309 with 30 home runs and 103 RBI over 137 regular-season games and continued his torrid pace batting .353 with five homeruns, 13 RBI and a 1.206 OPS over 16 postseason games.
Over the last three seasons, David Ortiz has averaged 26 homeruns, 86 RBI, and a .311 batting average. Money well spent.