Red Sox to start contract talks with David Ortiz next week

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General manager Ben Cherington has said that the Red Sox hope to re-sign free agent David Ortiz and Joe McDonald of ESPN Boston talked to a team source who says negotiations will begin “at some point next week.”

According to McDonald the two sides have had some informal talks already, but things are expected to get “serious” next week after Cherington noted that Ortiz “is someone who we feel strongly about bringing back.”

For his part Ortiz has said he wants to a multi-year deal, but for a 37-year-old who missed nearly the entire second half with an Achilles’ tendon injury that seems like a stretch. When healthy Ortiz was still an elite hitter, batting .318 with 23 homers in 90 games while topping a 1.000 OPS for the first time since 2007, but he also wanted a multi-year deal last offseason before accepting arbitration and settling for a one-year, $14.575 million contract.

Back then he was a 36-year-old designated hitter coming off a .953 OPS in 146 games. Now he’ll be a 37-year-old designated hitter coming off a 1.026 OPS in 90 games.

Report: Astros, Michael Brantley agree to two-year, $32 million contract

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Astros and outfielder Michael Brantley are closing in on an agreement for a two-year contract in the $32 million range.

Brantley, 31, played a mostly full season last year for the first time since 2015. He hit .309/.364/.468 with 17 home runs, 76 RBI, 89 runs scored, and 12 stolen bases in 631 plate appearances. He made the AL All-Star squad for the third time in his career.

Brantley’s health, though, is why he had to settle for a two-year deal as opposed to a longer contract for a player of his caliber. He will take over in left field. In the event Brantley succumbs to injury woes, the Astros have top prospect Kyle Tucker waiting in the wings.

Update: According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, who also reports that the deal is in place, the Astros plan to rotate Brantley between left field, first base, and DH. That opens up some more playing time for Tucker.