Red Sox GM Ben Cherington says talks with David Ortiz are “ongoing”


Jonathan Papelbon has reportedly agreed to a four-year, $50 million contract with the Phillies. Could David Ortiz be the next to leave Boston?

Don’t count on it. Based on what Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington told reporters (via following a press conference for managerial candidate Torey Lovullo earlier today, there’s still plenty of optimism about re-signing him.

“We have had a lot of dialogue with David and his agents,” Cherington said. “Because of what I feel, and I think he feels, is a little bit more of a defined market for that role it’s been easier to engage sooner. It’s probably less likely to be a situation where he gets into the market and there’s something that he’s pushed into a corner on. David knows we want him to be here. We want him to be back with the Red Sox. We want him in our lineup. We’ve had a lot of dialogue to see if there’s a way to do that and I think that will continue.”

There was some silly stuff late last month about Ortiz potentially having National League suitors, but most sane people agree he will almost certainly continue his career as a designated hitter in the American League. And that severely limits the market for Ortiz, who turns 36 years old next week, by the way. Jayson Stark of wrote this morning that the Red Sox want to determine whether they can re-sign Ortiz before perhaps turning to Carlos Beltran or Michael Cuddyer, so we can probably expect a quick resolution here.

Ryan Zimmerman’s spring training has been . . . weird

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Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman has played in exactly one Grapefruit league game this year, and that was way back on March 2. Since then he has been totally absent from the Nats’ big league spring games, playing instead on the back fields in sim games and in minor league contests.

While that’s not an unusual course of action for an injured or rehabbing player, both Zimmerman and the Nationals insist that there is nothing wrong with him. Per this report from MASN’s Mark Zuckerman, they’re saying that Zimmerman “simply prefers to get his work done in the more controlled environment of minor league games, where the rules are lax.” He doesn’t have to dive for balls, he can lead off every inning, etc. Manager Dave Martinez says Zimmerman simply doesn’t like the usual spring training grind and that this is working for him so he’s fine with it too.

Are you buyin’ that? Not sure I’m buyin’ that.

I suppose weirder things have happened. The Minnesota Twins once let Jack Morris go back to his farm in between starts rather than stay with the club. Other accommodations have been made for veterans, especially in spring training. But this is way more in keeping with a team hiding an injury. Though I have no idea why the Nats would choose to hide an injury to Zimmerman. They’ve talked at length about Daniel Murphy‘s knees and Adam Eaton‘s seemingly never-ending rehab. If Zimmerman has some aches and pains, you’d think they’d talk about it.

On the other hand, if this is a legit story and it is simply an accommodation for a veteran who doesn’t like the normal spring training grind, look for Zimmerman to be a trailblazer, because there are a LOT of dudes who hate spring training too and would love to change things up like this.