David Ortiz, the face of the Red Sox since helping Boston end an 86-year World Series drought in 2004, finalized a $26 million, two-year contract Monday, a deal that could be worth up to $30 million if he avoids another significant Achilles tendon injury next year.
The designated hitter and first baseman had expressed his preference for a two-year deal the past two seasons. The club decided that keeping him and agreeing to his desire was a good first move this offseason.
"I don't think there was any doubt," he said during a Fenway Park news conference. "They approached me this year and our negotiation this year was easier than ever."
Ortiz gets a $1 million signing bonus payable Jan. 15 and salaries of $14 million next season and $11 million in 2014. The salary figures could rise, depending on the number of days he spends on the disabled list next season due to an Achilles tendon injury such as the one that limited him to one game after July 16 this year.
Ortiz, who will turn 37 on Nov. 18, is a career .285 hitter with 401 homers and 1,386 RBIs.
He was having another solid year, batting .318 with 23 homers and 60 RBIs before going down with the Achilles injury in mid-July. He played in just one game the rest of the season.
During an interview on NBC Sports Network in October, ex-Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said Ortiz "decided not to play anymore" after Boston traded Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett to the Los Angeles Dodgers in a move predicated on dumping salary.
Ortiz downplayed the issue in the first question of the news conference.
"About the Bobby situation, I try to not add too much," he said. "You guys know it was something that made me feel uncomfortable. You guys know I've been here the last 10 years and know how I go about my business. The most important thing is you guys are face to face with every day, and you already know how important it is to be on the field and represent what I need to do."
He closed the answer with, "It's time to turn the page and move on."
Around the horn
Yankees • New York claimed catcher Eli Whiteside off waivers from San Francisco. The 33-year-old was 1 for 11 in 12 games for the Giants this year, when he played 60 games at Triple-A Fresno. He was not on this year's World Series roster when the Giants won their second title in three years.
Cardinals • St. Louis promoted John Mabry to hitting coach as the replacement for Mark McGwire, who told the team he won't return after three seasons and appears headed to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The 42-year-old Mabry was assistant hitting coach last season.
Astros • Houston hired Eduardo Perez as bench coach and Dennis Martinez as bullpen coach to complete the staff of new manager Bo Porter. Martinez was a pitching coach in the Cardinals system for the last six seasons. Perez recently worked as hitting coach for the Marlins.