David Ortiz

Why David Ortiz wants two years. And why he’s wrong about that.

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David Ortiz gave an interview with WEEI, and the big topic, not surprisingly, was his future in Boston. He has a one-year, $12.5 million option. Despite the fact that’s well above the market rate for aging DH’s these days, he wants a two year deal.  Why two years? Here’s why, according to Big Papi:

“I’m not comfortable coming back just for one year because it’s going to be the same roller-coaster that I had this year . . . I just want to cut out all the crap and go back to the guy I was before, a happy guy who doesn’t have to be answering questions that have nothing to with anything but controversy . . . That’s where I came back to not wanting just one year, because I know it’s going to be just the same thing. As soon as you struggle for a week, it’s going to be the same thing. People saying you are old, saying you have no bat speed anymore. People talking all kind of crap.”

Like they wouldn’t ask those same questions if he was under a two year deal? Indeed, it would probably be worse, with the “kind of crap” people talking being of the “oh God, we’re stuck with him for 2012 too?” variety.  If he’s under a one year deal and he struggles, at least people might take a slightly more philosophical “well, he’s gone after this year” approach.

The fact is that if Ortiz is expecting things to go back to the way they were in 2004-2007, he’s dreaming. Because fans and the media in Boston may be tough, but they’re not dumb. They know that when players reach a certain age that their skills diminish and eventually disappear. They can’t simply say “no worries, Ortiz will be smacking the ball around like crazy soon enough” because as time goes on that simply won’t be true at some point. It was nice that Ortiz was able to rebound from a slow start this season. But there will come a time when he doesn’t, and he can’t expect people to ignore that possibility.

And one final question: how much does Ortiz expect to be paid over two years? If he wants that $12 million or something close to it for both seasons — and given how confident he sounds in the interview, he likely does — a two-year deal would bring even more scrutiny down on him he’s seen previously. Because that’s just a tremendous amount of scratch to give to a, um, 34 year-old DH.

Orioles re-sign Michael Bourn to a minor league deal

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 04:  Michael Bourn #1 of the Baltimore Orioles hits a single in the fifth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays during the American League Wild Card game at Rogers Centre on October 4, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
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The Orioles have re-signed outfielder Michael Bourn to a minor league contract with an invitation to major league camp, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports.

Bourn, 34, joined the Orioles last year in a trade from the Diamondbacks on August 31. Though he compiled a meager .669 OPS with the Diamondbacks, Bourn hit a solid .283/.358/.435 in 55 plate appearances with the O’s through the end of the season.

Bourn, a non-roster invitee to camp, will try to play his way onto the Orioles’ 25-man roster. If he does make the roster, Bourn will receive a $2 million salary, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports points out.

Shelby Miller is in the best mental shape of his life

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 24:  Shelby Miller #26 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches in the first inning during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on May 24, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
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Diamondbacks starter Shelby Miller had about as bad a season as one can have. He was the headliner in the trade that sent 2015 No. 1 overall pick Dansby Swanson, All-Star outfielder Ender Inciarte, and highly-regarded pitching prospect Aaron Blair to the Braves. It was a trade that was pilloried at the time and continues to be pilloried to this day.

Miller didn’t do then-GM Dave Stewart any favors with his 2016 performance. He went 3-12 with a 6.15 ERA and a 70/42 K/BB ratio over 101 innings. That included a bout with mechanical failure, as he kept hitting the mound with his follow-through. He went on the disabled list. And after that, he was demoted to Triple-A. After getting fired, Stewart expressed remorse over acquiring Miller — or, more accurately, giving up Swanson to do so.

So, the 26-year-old Miller heads into 2017 without any momentum. To his credit, though, he’s going into the new season with a very positive perspective. Via Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports:

I’m just in a really happy place, away from the field, on the field. […]

Maybe it’s just the way I go about everything, trying to be positive in every single aspect of life. Baseball’s not perfect. I’m not perfect. I know bumps in the road are going to happen. Last year was obviously not just a bump, but a huge mountain. Right now, that’s completely behind me. I’m not worried about any of that.

I’m really ready for this year, ready to redeem myself so much.

Even pitching coach Mike Butcher sees the change in Miller’s mentality. “He’s not a different guy. But you can see there’s a presence in him. That’s what we need. Just be Shelby Miller. You don’t have to live up to anything. Just be yourself.”

Manager Torey Lovullo, too, praised Miller. “I saw a guy who had spent a lot of time taking care of his business in the weight room — he looks fantastic, in fantastic shape,” he said.

It sounds like Miller is not only in great mental shape, but great physical shape, too. Is it the “best shape of his life”? Only time can tell.