UPDATE: David Ortiz to accept arbitration, stay with Red Sox

39 Comments

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.

In the playoffs, the Yankees’ weakness has become their strength

Elsa/Getty Images
11 Comments

Two weeks ago, when the playoffs began, the idea of “bullpenning” once again surfaced, this time with the Yankees as a focus. Because their starting pitching was believed to be a weakness — they had no obvious ace like a Dallas Keuchel or Corey Kluber — and their bullpen was a major strength, the idea of chaining relievers together starting from the first inning gained traction. The likes of Luis Severino, who struggled mightily in the AL Wild Card game, or Masahiro Tanaka (4.79 regular season ERA) couldn’t be relied upon in the postseason, the thought went.

That idea is no longer necessary for the Yankees because the starting rotation has become the club’s greatest strength. Tanaka fired seven shutout innings to help push the Yankees ahead of the Astros in the ALCS, three games to two. They are now one win away from reaching the World Series for the first time since 2009.

It hasn’t just been Tanaka. Since Game 3 of the ALDS, Yankees pitchers have made eight starts spanning 46 1/3 innings. They have allowed 10 runs (nine earned) on 25 hits and 12 walks with 45 strikeouts. That’s a 1.75 ERA with an 8.74 K/9 and 2.33 BB/9. In five of those eight starts, the starter went at least six innings, which has helped preserve the freshness and longevity of the bullpen.

Here’s the full list of performances for Yankee starters this postseason:

Game Starter IP H R ER BB SO HR
AL WC Luis Severino 1/3 4 3 3 1 0 2
ALDS 1 Sonny Gray 3 1/3 3 3 3 4 2 1
ALDS 2 CC Sabathia 5 1/3 3 4 2 3 5 0
ALDS 3 Masahiro Tanaka 7 3 0 0 1 7 0
ALDS 4 Luis Severino 7 4 3 3 1 9 2
ALDS 5 CC Sabathia 4 1/3 5 2 2 0 9 0
ALCS 1 Masahiro Tanaka 6 4 2 2 1 3 0
ALCS 2 Luis Severino 4 2 1 1 2 0 1
ALCS 3 CC Sabathia 6 3 0 0 4 5 0
ALCS 4 Sonny Gray 5 1 2 1 2 4 0
ALCS 5 Masahiro Tanaka 7 3 0 0 1 8 0
TOTAL 55 1/3 35 20 17 20 52 6

In particular, if you hone in on the ALCS starts specifically, Yankee starters have pitched 28 innings, allowing five runs (four earned) on 13 hits and 10 walks with 20 strikeouts. That’s a 1.61 ERA.

While the Yankees’ biggest weakness has become a strength, the Astros’ biggest weakness — the bullpen — has become an even bigger weakness. This is why the Yankees, who won 10 fewer games than the Astros during the regular season, are one win away from reaching the World Series and the Astros are not.