Good luck with that: David Ortiz wants a two-year contract extension from the Red Sox

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During the All-Star game media session impending free agent David Ortiz told Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald that he wants the Red Sox to give him a two-year contract extension with an third-year option.

Silverman kindly writes that Ortiz “is a couple of years beyond the age when the Red Sox normally get extremely gun-shy about committing to players for the long term.”

I’ll put it in much simpler terms: Not happening.

Ortiz is having a fantastic season, hitting .304 with 19 homers in 87 games for a .965 OPS that ranks fourth among AL hitters, but he’s also a 36-year-old designated hitter and as we’ve seen in recent years with Jim Thome, Jason Giambi, Hideki Matsui, Vladimir Guerrero, Frank Thomas, Johnny Damon, and others those guys have a hard enough time securing one-year contracts, let alone multi-year commitments.

Ortiz has made it very clear that he’d like to remain in Boston beyond this season and if he stays healhty and productive in the second half the Red Sox would probably be willing to give him the same $12.5 million salary for 2012, but as Silverman points out the front office already balked at Ortiz’s proposed multi-year extension during the offseason and a strong first half seems unlikely to alter their stance significantly.

Perhaps one of the other 13 AL teams might be willing to make a big offer to Ortiz as a free agent, but he might also find that a one-year, $12.5 million deal looks pretty good for a 36-year-old DH on the open market. Thome, for instance, hit .283 with 25 homers and a 1.039 OPS in 108 games for the Twins last season and ended up re-signing for just $3 million after shopping around. Guerrero hit .300 with 29 homers and an .841 OPS in 152 games for the Rangers and eventually accepted a one-year, $8 million deal from the Orioles.

Marcus Stroman named World Baseball Classic MVP

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United States starter Marcus Stroman was named Most Valuable Player of the World Baseball Classic after helping lead the U.S. to its first ever WBC title on Wednesday night in an 8-0 victory over Puerto Rico. Stroman flirted with a no-hitter through six innings, but gave up a double to lead off the seventh before being relieved by Sam Dyson.

Stroman also pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings against the Dominican Republic in Pool C play on March 11. He struggled in Pool F play against Puerto Rico last Friday, surrendering four runs in 4 2/3 innings.

The WBC MVP award understandably goes to a player of the winning team. However, Wladimir Balentien of the Netherlands deserves special mention. In 26 at-bats during the WBC, he hit a double and had a WBC-high four home runs, 12 RBI, and 12 runs scored while putting up a .615/.677/.1.115 batting line. That’s MVP-esque as far as this tournament is concerned.

U.S. blanks Puerto Rico 8-0 to win first World Baseball Classic title

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The United States handed Puerto Rico its first loss in the World Baseball Classic, winning 8-0 for its first title in the fourth iteration of the tournament.

Puerto Rico starter Seth Lugo was matching Marcus Stroman zero-for-zero through the first two innings, but the U.S. broke out for a pair of runs when Ian Kinsler deposited a two-run home run just beyond the fence in left-center at Dodger Stadium. The U.S. tacked on two more in the fifth on RBI singles from Christian Yelich and Andrew McCutchen, pushing the lead to 4-0.

Meanwhile, Stroman was dealing. The right-hander, normally seen in a Blue Jays uniform, held Puerto Rico hitless through his first six innings, giving up just a lone walk. The U.S. put together a long rally in the top of the seventh, scoring three runs on three hits, two walks, and a hit batter. Stroman came back out for the seventh but immediately served up a double down the left field line to Angel Pagan. U.S. manager Jim Leyland immediately lifted Stroman from the game, bringing in Sam Dyson who escaped the inning without any further damage.

Pat Neshek allowed a leadoff single to Yadier Molina to begin the eighth, but induced a double-play, then worked around a two-out walk by striking out Kenny Vargas to end the frame.

In the ninth, David Robertson took over. He induced an infield pop-up from Enrique Hernandez. After Pagan singled up the middle, Francisco Lindor sharply grounded out to Eric Hosmer at first base for the second out. Finally, Robertson closed it out, inducing Carlos Correa to ground out to third base, making the U.S. 8-0 victors over Puerto Rico to win the World Baseball Classic.

Puerto Rico had an admirable run, defeating Venezuela, Mexico, and Italy to get out of Pool D undefeated. Then, in Pool F, it beat Venezuela again as well as the U.S. and the Dominican Republic to move to the semifinals. It narrowly edged Netherlands 4-3 in the semifinals to get into the finals.

The U.S. lost to the D.R. but beat Canada and Colombia to get out of Pool C. In Pool F, the U.S. lost to Puerto Rico and defeated the D.R again as well as Venezuela. The U.S. took down Japan in the semifinals to advance to the finals to play Puerto Rico.

The U.S. joins Japan (twice, 2006 and ’09) and the Dominican Republic (2013) as countries to win the World Baseball Classic. The 2017 tournament was a rousing success, setting attendance records, drawing over one million fans to ballparks to take in the games. It will hopefully encourage commissioner Rob Manfred and others to make a concerted effort to make the 2021 tournament bigger and better.