It looks like the 2013 World Series MVP will be staying in Boston a little longer. Reports from Red Sox spring training say that the team and their designated hitter, David Ortiz, have agreed to a one year contract extension, with a vesting option for the 2016 and 2017 seasons. About three months ago Ortiz said the wanted to revisit contract talks since his current deal was set to expire after the 2014 season. It looks like those contract extension talks have finally taken place, and the Boston Red Sox have agreed to keep David Ortiz for a little longer.
Ortiz has had a very quiet pre-season up until now. He hasn’t gotten a hit since March 10th when he hit a solo home run, and in 35 at bats he only has two hits. But both he and the organization say they are not concerned, and Big Papi himself alluded to being bored during spring training, but expects to play better when the regular season starts. Before the 2013 season the Red Sox and Ortiz agreed to a two-year, $26 million deal. After Big Papi’s performance last year, he made $15 million once bonuses were added in. The new extension will keep Ortiz on the team for the 2015 season, where he will make $16 million, and the team has a vesting option for the 2016 and 2017 season. This is most likely why the deal is not yet signed, but sources say that the team plans to officially announce the extension tomorrow.
A vesting option is something teams exercise with older players. It sets certain milestones for a season and when reached, it extends the player’s contract. These can be plate appearances, games played, hits, etc. For example, a team may exercise the vesting option and guarantee the player his contract if he plays in 120 games or more. If he does not, the contract is not guaranteed and the team can cut him. It safeguards against older players with health concerns. According to Big Papi, his agent, Fern Cruza, was with team officials today to finalize the contract talks, most likely ironing out the details of the vesting option. The official announcement should be some time tomorrow. Big Papi was adamant about retiring on the Boston Red Sox, and after agreeing to the contract extension, it looks like David Ortiz is going to get what he wanted.
Ortiz will be entering his 12th year for the team. After a disappointing 2009 and 2010 season, when he hit .238 and .270, many around the team, and league, feared that Big Papi may not be the player he once was. It turned out the giant was only sleeping. He came back strong during the 2011 and 2012 seasons, and in 2013 his batting average was .309, and he hit 30 home runs, 103 RBI’s and led the majors in runs scored. That post season, Ortiz was one of the main reasons the Red Sox won the World Series. He hit .353 in the playoffs, and hit a whopping .688 in the World Series, easily earning him the MVP.
Ortiz has averaged a .292 batting average, with 34 home runs and 108 RBI’s a year over his 11 seasons with the Red Sox. He has the highest batting average ever of any player to get 50 or more plate appearances in the Worlds Series. He’s Big Papi, and a sure Hall of Fame player. His career has been defined by his time with the Red Sox and it is only right that the team gave him what he wanted. He will now retire with them. Boston Red Sox fan or not, everyone can agree to David Ortiz finishing out his career where he wants, and this contract extension will give him that option.
Commentary by Chris Dragicevich