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.
At the trade deadline, relief pitching is the name of the game and one of the names clearly available is Pat Neshek. Today Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports that the Nationals, Dodgers, and Red Sox are among the clubs who are closely scouting the Phillies reliever. Last week Ken Rosenthal reported that the Brewers and Rays were involved as well.
Neshek is an impending free agent, so he may come cheaper than Justin Wilson or some of the other bullpen arms available right now. The All-Star is 36 and is posting a fantastic season, featuring a 1.12 ERA and 45/5 K/BB ratio over 40.1 innings this season.
Some seriously bad news for the Dodgers: Ken Rosenthal reports that the initial prognosis on Clayton Kershaw is that he will miss 4-6 weeks with his bad back. A final determination will be made after he gets a second medical consultation.
Kershaw exited Sunday’s start against the Braves with back tightness after just two innings of work. He was seen talking with trainers in the dugout after completing the top of the second inning and did not return to the mound for the third. Kershaw has a history of back problems. Last year he missed over two months with a herniated disc in his back.
Assuming the preliminary schedule holds, Kershaw would be on the shelf until late August at the earliest, but more likely early-to-mid September. The Dodgers currently hold a 10.5 game lead in the NL West so they can withstand his absence. But if they have any hopes of advancing in the playoffs, they’ll need a fully armed and operational Clayton Kershaw to do it.