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.
But that’s apparently not good enough for Big Papi:
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.
The Associated Press is reporting that the Cubs and starter Jake Arrieta have avoided arbitration, agreeing to a $10.7 million salary for the 2016 season. That marks the highest salary on a one-year deal for a pitcher with four years of service, the AP notes. Arrieta and the Cubs were set to go before an independent arbitrator but now can simply focus on the season ahead.
Arrieta, 29, is in his second of three years of arbitration eligibility. He had filed for $13 million while the Cubs countered at $7.5 million. The $5.5 million gap was the largest among players who did not come to terms with their respective teams by the January deadline. The $10.7 million salary is $450,000 above the midpoint between the two submitted figures.
Arrieta won the National League Cy Young Award for his performance this past season, narrowly edging out Zack Greinke, then with the Dodgers. Arrieta led the majors with 22 wins, four complete games, and three shutouts. With that, he compiled a 1.77 ERA and a 236/48 K/BB ratio across 229 innings.
Once a top prospect in the Orioles’ minor league system, Arrieta struggled in the majors but found immediate success with the Cubs in 2013 after the O’s traded him along with Pedro Strop in exchange for Steve Clevenger and Scott Feldman.
Per Baseball America’s Matt Eddy, the Giants have signed infielder Conor Gillaspie to a minor league deal. Gillaspie was selected by the Giants in the supplemental round of the 2008 draft, then was traded to the White Sox in February 2013.
Gillaspie, 28, hit a meager .228/.269/.359 with four home runs and 24 RBI in 253 plate appearances between the White Sox and Angels during the 2015 season. Almost all of his playing time has come at third base but he can also play first base if needed.
The Giants, thin on depth, will allow Gillaspie to audition in spring training for a spot on the 25-man roster.
Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that free agent reliever Joe Nathan, recovering from Tommy John surgery, plans to pitch in 2016 according to his agent Dave Pepe. According to Pepe, Nathan’s workouts are “going well” and the right-hander is “definitely planning on playing this year.”
Nathan, 41, got the final out on Opening Day (April 6) against the Twins before going on the disabled list with a flexor strain in his right elbow, causing him to miss the next 161 games. He will likely be able to contribute out of the bullpen in late May or early June if he has no setbacks. On a minor league deal or incentive-laden major league deal, Nathan could make for a low-risk gamble.
Over a 15-season career that dates back to 1999 (he did not pitch in the majors in 2001 or 2010), Nathan has 377 saves with a 2.89 ERA and a 967/340 K/BB ratio over 917 innings.
On Thursday, we learned that the Diamondbacks were still considering free agent reliever Tyler Clippard. You can add the Rays to the list as well, per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.
The Rays traded lefty reliever Jake McGee to the Rockies in exchange for outfielder Corey Dickerson in late January, so Clippard would be able to slot right in behind closer Brad Boxberger. Clippard, 30, compiled a 2.92 ERA with 64 strikeouts and 31 walks over 71 innings in a season split between the Athletics and Mets. The strikeout rate was at its lowest since the right-hander become a full-time reliever in 2009, and his walk rate was at its highest since 2010, which may be a factor in his still being a free agent in February.