David Ortiz is under contract through this season. He would like to be under contract longer. Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston, quoting Ortiz from a local Boston TV broadcast:
“As long as they keep offering me a job and I keep doing what I’m supposed to do and the relationship keeps on building up, I’m going to be there. Hopefully, I won’t have to go and wear another uniform.”
Burton then asked what would happen if the team didn’t offer him another long-term deal.
“Time to move on,” he said.
It feels like we go through this a lot. I guess we do, relatively speaking. Most big stars don’t work on one and two-year deals as often as David Ortiz has. But when you’re a DH-type who, at a critical moment a couple of years ago, looked like he had just fallen off a cliff, you can understand why the Sox haven’t given him another three or four-year deal like the one they gave him before the 2007.
My guess: if he starts up 2014 like he left off in 2013 the Sox will extend him for a year or two. If not, they’ll wait until the season is over. Which, no matter how great Ortiz has been for the Sox, is probably smart given that he’s an aging DH.
All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.
The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.
It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.
It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.
Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉