David Ortiz: “I feel happy since I avoided arbitration”

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David Ortiz and the Red Sox created a whole lot of drama before eventually compromising at the exact midpoint and avoiding arbitration, but publicly at least Ortiz seems fine with the outcome after previously wanting a multi-year contract.

“I feel happy since I avoided going to arbitration,” Ortiz told the Associated Press. “People are used to see me with the Red Sox uniform and when you have so much time in one organization, and you’re identified with it, the best thing is to stay, even if it is for one or two million less.”

His one-year deal is a massive one at $14.575 million, so that obviously helps, and by settling at the midpoint Ortiz avoided the chance of arbitrators ruling in favor of the Red Sox to give him only a very small raise from 2011. Instead he gets a $2.075 million bump after hitting .309 with 29 homers and his highest OPS since 2007.

Phillies owner John Middleton is in Las Vegas with Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper
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Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that Phillies owner John Middleton flew to Las Vegas for a meeting with Bryce Harper on Friday. Per ESPN’s Jeff Passan, it’s “more of a meet-and-greet than a sign-a-deal” affair, but as the club is still at the forefront of trade rumors involving the All-Star slugger, there remains a possibility (however slight) that something could be completed in the days to come.

Even now, the Phillies aren’t alone in the race to sign Harper, but recent rumors have helped whittle down the competition from five or more teams (Phillies, Nationals, White Sox, Giants, and Padres) to three strong contenders. The Giants are said to be interested in a lucrative short-term deal with the outfielder, while the Padres remain in the conversation despite inking Manny Machado to a mammoth 10-year, $300 million contract this week. It’s not yet clear just how far either team would go to outbid Philadelphia as talks with Harper intensify.

As for the Nationals and White Sox, the former officially bowed out earlier today, and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman adds that the latter won’t make a strong play for Harper as they feel the asking price and competing offers are “getting too high” for the 26-year-old’s services. If a mystery team is still in the mix, there’s been no word on their standing with Harper in the last month or so.