Staying Put: Big Papi and Red Sox agree to 2015 contract with options for 2016 and 2017
Sunday, Mar 23, 2014 04:00 am
FORT MYERS, Fla. - Big Papi is staying put.
David Ortiz and the Red Sox agreed to a 2015 contract Sunday with options for the following two years, a move that means the popular slugger will probably finish his career in Boston.
Ortiz, the World Series MVP last season, has led the Red Sox to three championships in the past 10 years. He batted .309 with 30 home runs and 103 RBIs in 137 games last season after missing all of spring training while rehabbing a strained Achilles tendon.
The 38-year-old designated hitter has 431 major league homers and has made nine All-Star teams in 11 years with Boston.
The Red Sox announced the deal Sunday night. It includes a club or vesting option for 2016, and a club option for 2017.
"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," owner John Henry said in a statement. "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."
Multiple media outlets reported earlier that the sides had reached an agreement that guarantees Ortiz $16 million in 2015. He is set to earn $15 million this season as part of a two-year contract he signed in November 2012.
The team said Ortiz, manager John Farrell and general manager Ben Cherington would be available to the media Monday in Sarasota before the Red Sox play the Baltimore Orioles.
Big Papi batted .353 with five home runs and 13 RBIs in the 2013 post-season. He hit a clutch grand slam that swung the AL championship series against Detroit, then punctuated his performance with a dominant World Series against St. Louis.
He went 11 for 16 (.688) with two homers, six RBIs and eight walks to leave him with the best World Series batting average (.455), on-base percentage (.576) and slugging percentage (.795) among players with at least 50 plate appearances.
Ortiz ranked third in the majors with a .564 slugging percentage last season, and his .972 OPS over the past three years trails only Miguel Cabrera (1.036).
Ortiz is a .287 career hitter with 520 doubles and 1,429 RBIs in 17 big league seasons with the Twins and Red Sox. He was voted MVP of the 2004 AL championship series, leading Boston's unprecedented comeback from a 3-0 deficit against the rival New York Yankees.
By then, Red Sox fans had fallen in love with Big Papi.
By now, he's joined the pantheon of Boston's most-beloved sports stars, a group that includes the likes of Bobby Orr, Larry Bird, Bill Russell, Tom Brady and Ted Williams.
Since arriving in Boston in 2003, Ortiz ranks second among major league hitters in slugging percentage (.572) to Albert Pujols (.601). Big Papi also has 11 career game-ending homers in the regular season, more than any other active player.