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.
Last night Robinson Cano hit a solo homer in the ninth inning of the Mariners’ loss to the Texas Rangers. It was his 22nd on the season. Though it was insignificant to the outcome of that game, it was significant to Cano: it was his 300th career homer.
While we’ve become accustomed to not caring much about home run milestones south of, say, 500, 300 homers for Cano is a big deal, as he’s only the third second baseman to cross that threshold in baseball history. The other two: Jeff Kent, at 377, and Rogers Hornsby at 301.
Cano, who turns 35 next month, has a career line of .305/.354/.495 and 1,179 RBI, 512 doubles and 33 triples to go with those bombs. He’s in his 13th big league season and still has six more years left on his deal with the Mariners. He’s averaged 24 homers a year since coming to the Mariners. While he’ll obviously trail off at some point — and while great second baseman’s have this weird habit of just suddenly falling off a cliff — it’s highly likely that he’ll finish his career as the all-time home run leader among second baseman. If he remains healthy he should also get over 3,000 hits in his career.
Cooperstown, here he comes.
Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports that the Reds have signed catcher Tucker Barnhart to a four-year contract extension. The terms: $16 million total, with a $7.5 million club option for the 2022 season that has a $500,000 buyout. He also received a $1.75 million signing bonus.
The deal buys out all three of his arbitration years — he was going to be eligible for the first time this offseason — and the first year of his potential free agency. The club option buys a second. Barnhart made $575,000 this season.
Barnhart, 26, is finishing his second season as the Reds primary catcher. This year he’s hitting .272/.349/.399 with six homers and 42 RBI in 113 games. For his career he has a line of .257/.328/.366 in 330 major league games. His real value is defensive, however. He leads the National League in caught stealing percentage and number of base stealers caught (31-for-70, 44%) and leads all players at any position in the league in defensive WAR according to Baseball-Reference.com.