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.
Jon Heyman reports that the Nationals are closing in on a deal with catcher Matt Wieters. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that it’s a two-year deal. UPDATE: Ken Rosenthal reports that the deal is for two years, at $21 million. There is an opt-out for him after year one. He will get $10 million in 2017 and, if he returns in 2018, he’ll get $11 million.
Wieters was not expected to go this long without signing, but his market, which many thought would be robust, never materialized. The Nats had been rumored to be interested for months, but they were apparently waiting to swoop in late and get what one presumes will be a bargain.
Wieters, 30, finished last season hitting .243/.302/.409 with 17 home runs and 66 RBI in 464 plate appearances. The Nationals currently have Derek Norris and Jose Lobaton, so who falls where in the catcher fight in Washington is unclear, but one presumes that Wieters getting a two-year deal puts him at the top of the depth chart.
Ken Rosenthal has an interesting story up about Sergio Romo as he begins spring training with his new team, the Los Angeles Dodgers.
There is some fun stuff about his family, all Dodgers fans from southern California, but the more notable stuff is about Romo himself, who has dealt with a lot more than has been reported over the past couple of seasons. The loss of three of his four grandparents is a big one, as it has thrust the mantle of head of the family on Romo in ways that he was not fully prepared for. There are also allusions to personal and psychological problems Romo has experienced — there is a vague suggestion of alcohol or maybe just late nights out and perhaps depression, but he is not specific about it — which he worked on with the help of friends and teammates on the Giants and which he now has overcome.
There’s always more going on the lives of baseball players than we as fans know.