David Ortiz may be 38 years old, but he hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down yet. He is coming off of a season in which he posted a .959 OPS and unfathomably productive during the post-season when he helped the Red Sox win the World Series. Ortiz is also eligible for free agency after the 2014 season. Representatives of the Red Sox have been talking with Ortiz and his agent Fern Cuza of Relativity Baseball about an extension.
Red Sox GM Ben Cherington, appearing on The Hot Stove Show on Thursday, said he expects the organization to continue speaking with Ortiz about his contract situation throughout the season. Via WEEI:
“Probably so,” Cherington said when asked if talks with Ortiz and his agent, Fern Cuza, will be taking place in the coming months. “I can say that because I think there’s always dialogue with David and with Fern. That’s important to me. It’s important to ownership. It’s important to the organization to have open dialogue with our key players and David is certainly one of those. We’ve talked this winter.”
Ortiz signed a two-year, $26 million deal with the Red Sox in November 2012. The contract stipulated a salary of $11 million for 2014, but escalated to $15 million when Ortiz was able to avoid the DL with the Achilles tendon injury that caused him to miss two and a half months between mid-July and the end of the regular season in 2012. Ortiz’s next contract, which could also be his last, is likely to include some slightly more stringent incentives.
Update (8:51 PM EST): The deal is in place, according to Heyman.
Update (8:27 PM EST): Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals made an “over-the-top offer” to Fowler to ensure he’d sign.
Frank Cusumano of KSDK Sports reports that free agent outfielder will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday. Presumably, that means that Fowler and the Cardinals have gotten pretty far along in negotiations.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports recently reported that Fowler was looking for $18 million per year. The Blue Jays reportedly made an offer to Fowler in the four-year, $16 million range several days ago. The Cardinals’ offer to Fowler, if there is indeed one, is likely somewhere between the two figures.
Fowler, 30, is coming off of a fantastic year in which he helped the Cubs win their first World Series since 1908. During the regular season, he hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 home runs, 48 RBI, 84 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases in 551 plate appearances.
Fowler rejected the Cubs’ $17.2 million qualifying offer last month. While the QO compensation negatively affected Fowler’s experience in free agency last offseason — he didn’t sign until late February with the Cubs — his strong season is expected to make QO compensation much less of an issue.
Tommy Stokke of RanRag Sports reports that the Braves and Rangers agreed to a trade. According to ESPN’s Keith Law, the Braves will receive pitcher Luke Jackson from the Rangers in exchange for pitchers Tyrell Jenkins and Brady Feigl.
Jackson, 25, is under team control through 2022. He has logged only 18 innings in the majors, yielding 14 runs on 22 hits and eight walks with three strikeouts. While Jackson has struggled with control, the Braves likely see upside because his fastball sits in the mid- to high-90’s.
Jenkins, 24, is also under team control through 2022. The right-hander made eight starts and six relief appearances in his first major league season in 2016, putting up a 5.88 ERA with a 26/33 K/BB ratio over 52 innings.
Feigl, 25, was an undrafted free agent and was signed by the Braves in 2013. The lefty underwent Tommy John surgery in 2015 and briefly rehabbed in rookie ball this past season.