7:00 p.m. EST update: ESPN Deportes’ Enrique Rojas reports that Ortiz is planning to accept Boston’s offer of arbitration, something that should guarantee him at least a modest raise from the $12.5 million he made last season. The Red Sox still might be able to change his mind by offering him an improved two-year contract. Ortiz has made it clear in the past they he prefers being on a multiyear deal.
6:50 p.m. EST update: WEEI’s Alex Speier is confirming the McDonald report of a two-year, $18 million offer and says that Ortiz is looking for $25 million. Ortiz’s agent and the Red Sox are due to meet again tonight.
4:35 p.m. EST update: ESPN Boston’s Joe McDonald reports that the Red Sox have offered Ortiz a two-year, $18 million deal. Considering that Ortiz has the arbitration leverage, that’s not going to get a deal done. Ortiz made $12.5 million last season and has a great case for a raise in arbitration based on his production. $25 million for two years seems like a much more suitable meeting place.
The Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham reports that there “does not seem to be a team legitimately interested in David Ortiz beyond the Red Sox,” and ESPNBoston.com states that “one way or another” Ortiz will remain with Boston.
The one way or another comes down to the Red Sox’s arbitration offer. Ortiz could accept that and potentially make $14 million-$15 million next year. Alternatively, he could re-up for two years at something like $25 million total.
Ortiz has until midnight Wednesday to accept the arbitration offer.
The 36-year-old Ortiz is coming off his best season since 2007, having hit .309/.398/.554 with 29 homers and 96 RBI in 525 at-bats. However, there are several other DH options available, all of whom would come much cheaper. Add in the fact that Ortiz would cost his signing team a draft pick and it’s easy to see why there isn’t much demand for his services.
It was only a matter of time before Mike Trout courted another all-time record, and on Saturday, he found himself in elite company with his 25th and 26th home runs of the season. He put the Angels on the board with a 429-foot blast in the first inning, depositing an 0-1 fastball from the Orioles’ Kevin Gausman into the left field bleachers:
In the third inning, with the Angels up 2-1, Trout returned to tack on another insurance run. He targeted Gausman’s slider for his second solo shot of the evening and cleared the center field fence with a 418-footer to bring his total to 26 home runs on the year.
Trout has mashed at a staggering .339/.471/.596 clip since his return from the disabled list last month, and Saturday’s totals helped mark his sixth consecutive season with at least 25 home runs. That’s a record few have matched before their age-26 season; in fact, only Hall of Fame sluggers Eddie Mathews and Frank Robinson have ever pulled it off.
Assuming he continues to rake in hits and plate appearances over the last six weeks of the regular season — and there’s nothing to indicate that he won’t — Trout is in line to join elite company of a different kind. The 26-year-old entered Saturday’s game with a 206 OPS+ (park-adjusted on-base plus slugging). According to MLB.com’s Matt Kelly, that means Trout’s hitting at a better clip than the average Major League player by a full 106 percent. Should he finish the year with a 200 OPS+ and 502 plate appearances or better, he’ll be the first player to do so since Barry Bonds obliterated the competition with his 263 OPS+ in 2004.
The Blue Jays acquired right-hander Tom Koehler from the Marlins in exchange for minor league right-hander Osman Gutierrez and cash considerations, the clubs announced Saturday. Koehler is in his sixth year with the Marlins and stands to make $5.75 million in 2017. He’ll be arbitration eligible in 2018 and is set to enter free agency by 2019.
The 31-year-old right-hander struggled to a 7.92 ERA, 4.7 BB/9 and 7.1 SO/9 over 55 2/3 innings with Miami in 2017. He was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans in late July, where he rebounded with a 1-1 record in seven starts and whittled his ERA down to a 1.67 mark. The Blue Jays have yet to establish Koehler’s role within their organization, but are hoping to see a turnaround from the righty when he breaks back into the big leagues.
Gutierrez, 22, was assigned to Single-A Greensboro on Saturday. He has yet to find his footing in the minors, and exited a 78-inning stint with Single-A Lansing after racking up a career-worst 7.85 ERA and 8.2 SO/9. His lack of control is particularly alarming, with a 6.2 BB/9 that dwarfs the 2.0+ BB/9 of seasons past, but he still has plenty of time to figure out his mechanics before reaching the Show.