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.
Cody Bellinger helped the Dodgers to their first lead on Friday night, going deep for his 39th home run of the season and setting a new National League rookie home run record in the process. With two on and two out in the third inning, the Dodgers’ slugger launched a 2-1 pitch from the Giants’ Jeff Samardzija, skimming the right field fence to give the team a three-run cushion:
The three-run bomb was Bellinger’s sixth of the season. In what is undoubtedly a Rookie of the Year award-worthy campaign, he’s logged 21 solo shots, 11 two-run blasts and a single grand slam. His historic home run topped former NL rookie leaders Frank Robinson and Wally Berger, at 38 homers apiece.
The Dodgers need to stay on top of the Giants to clinch the NL West or, barring that, have the Marlins pull off a win over the Diamondbacks. They currently lead the Giants 4-1 in the bottom of the fifth inning. The Marlins, meanwhile, are staying just ahead of the D-backs with a 9-7 lead in the top of the sixth.
A report from Barry Jackson and Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reveals that prospective Marlins’ owners Derek Jeter and Bruce Sherman have already initiated several key firings within the organization. While the sale of the team is still pending final approval next month, Jeter reportedly pushed club president David Samson to remove four special assistants this week: Andre Dawson, Tony Perez, Jack McKeon and Jeff Conine.
Hall of Fame infielder Dawson, outfielder Perez and Marlins’ legend Conine served as special assistants to the president. McKeon, who served as team manager from 2003-2005 (and briefly in 2011), was terminated from a 12-year post as special assistant to owner Jeffrey Loria.
The move didn’t come as a big surprise to Dawson and McKeon, Jackson and Spencer noted. It’s part and parcel of dealing with new ownership. But it was disappointing news nonetheless, especially as the long-tenured McKeon might lose an opportunity to return next September to manage one game and cement his status as the oldest manager in MLB history.
Should the Marlins’ sale go through in October as expected, this figures to be the beginning of several cuts. Per Jackson and Spencer:
Jeter also is expected to fire some people on the baseball side of the operation, though it’s believed president/baseball operations Michael Hill will be retained, at least indefinitely if not permanently.
Any replacements for those already released from the team have yet to be announced.