9:05 p.m. EST update: According to ESPN Boston’s Gordon Edes, Ortiz has officially accepted the arbitration offer.
CSNNE.com’s Sean McAdam reports that the Red Sox have improved on their two-year, $18 million offer to Ortiz, but that the proposal still falls a bit short of $20 million. Now that Ortiz has accepted the arbitration offer, he is a signed player, though the Red Sox will have months to negotiate a one-year or multiyear deal with him before a hearing in February.
Confirming some of Tuesday’s reports, Jon Heyman states that free agent David Ortiz is taking Boston up on its offer of arbitration, making him a signed player.
After hitting .309/.398/.554 with 29 homers and 96 RBI in 2011, Ortiz would seem to be in a great position to command a raise from last year’s $12.5 million salary, which is troubling for a Red Sox team that would prefer to avoid paying the luxury tax next year. However, it’s still possible that the two sides will work out a multiyear deal that would be more favorable to Boston. Ortiz is reportedly asking for $25 million for two years.
Ortiz’s return probably takes Boston out of the mix for Josh Willingham. The Red Sox may sign a right fielder if one falls into their laps, but pitching in the bigger priority at the moment.
The Yankees appear to have moved on from free agent Manny Machado this winter, but could they be turning their attention to Rockies superstar Nolan Arenado? That’s the idea floated by Andy Martino of SNY, who hears that GM Brian Cashman has been involved in recent discussions concerning the third baseman. No official comments have been made to the press yet, though, and it’s not clear whether the Yankees would prefer to pursue Arenado prior to the 2019 season or partway through it.
The 27-year-old infielder earned his fourth consecutive All-Star nomination, Silver Slugger, and Gold Glove award in 2018 after slashing .297/.374/.561 with 38 home runs, a .935 OPS, and 5.7 fWAR across 673 plate appearances. There’s no question he’s provided immense value to Colorado’s lineup over the last half-decade, and his consistency and incredible power at the plate helped form the basis of the record $30 million arbitration figure he presented to the team last week. The Rockies countered at $24 million, however, and in doing so may have jeopardized their chances of convincing the infielder to forego free agency in 2020 and take a long-term deal instead.
Assuming he declines to negotiate an extension with the Rockies, Arenado’s decorated résumé and career-best 2018 numbers should attract plenty of interest around the league — a reality that could put considerable pressure on the Yankees (or any other interested party) to finesse a deal sooner rather than later. For now, the club is prepared to enter the 2019 season with hot-hitting third baseman Miguel Andújar, whom Martino speculates would be the “centerpiece” of any trade with Colorado.