The Red Sox are poised to pick up David Ortiz's extension

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Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston reports that the Red Sox are prepared to pick up David Ortiz’s $12 million 2011 extension. That according to “a major league source well acquainted with the Sox’s thinking.”

In other news, we probably need to have a summit meeting about the best way to label anonymous sources in this business, because “a major league source well acquainted with the Sox’s thinking” is kind of a mouthful.

Nothing wrong with such reporting, mind you. I don’t mean to impugn Edes at all because he’s a good reporter. Indeed, I pass things along from anonymous sources all the time myself. This is baseball, after all, not foreign policy reporting, and despite what people may tell you, there is nothing wrong with gossip. It’s just that when you dress gossip up with newsy descriptions such as “a major league source well acquainted with the Sox’s thinking” you sound, I dunno, a bit silly. Let’s strive to keep it casual, ya know? I digress.

Ortiz has had a pretty decent year, with early season fears that his career was deader than vaudeville proving to be overstatements.  Still, I’d be wary of paying the guy $12 million when the going rate for a DH on the downside of his career is a seven figure proposition rather than eight.  Maybe Boston is just scared to death at this point that they’ll never have healthy players again and want to be double damn sure they have the one big bat who has managed to stay in the lineup all year back for 2011.

Why Ryan Zimmerman skipped spring training

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All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.

The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.

It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.

It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.

Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉