UPDATE: David Ortiz accepts Boston’s arbitration offer

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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.

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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.