The Red Sox have an expensive option on David Ortiz. I’ve convinced myself that there would be dumber things for the Sox to do than pay Ortiz $12 million next year, if for no other reason than it will limit their controversial offseason moves to one (Papelbon) and at some point the hassle reduction is worth a couple million bucks if you have it to spare.
In an interview for The Bradford Files podcast, Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz explained
that he won’t feel ‘comfortable’ playing under a one-year deal for next
season, citing his discomfort with going through some of the pressures
that he experienced throughout the 2010 campaign.
Ortiz says he really wants to stay in Boston, but he also says that the scrutiny he faces there is too much to take without an extra year on a deal:
“I don’t think I
can keep up with all the crap that you go through just because you cool
off for one week or one month. I think the only way you can stay away
from that when people know you have a guaranteed contract.”
I see this in exactly the opposite way. The “pressure” of being in a walk year — which, for all practical purposes, 2010 was for him — seemed to suit his production just fine. Only a psychiatrist can tell us for sure, but Ortiz would not have been the first player to step his game up, unconsciously or otherwise, because he needed to in order to secure his future. Give him two years — which would almost certainly be his last contract — and maybe the motivation is gone.
Likewise, does Ortiz really think a multi-year contract would bring him less scrutiny if he slumps? The Boston writers can be vicious, but they’re not dumb, and it would not be long before the “we’re stuck with this through the 2012 season?” sentiment started to build. If he has a one year contract and falls off a cliff people can at least calm themselves with the notion that, hey, it will be over soon.
Ortiz is probably worth one year and $7 million or so. Picking up his one year, $12 million option isn’t the best move ever, but it’s doable. Guaranteeing his presence for two or more seasons at this point of his career, however, seems like madness.