Red Sox, David Ortiz agree to $26 million deal

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CSN Boston’s Sean McAdam reports that the Red Sox and David Ortiz have come to terms on a two-year deal worth a guaranteed $26 million.

Incentives included in the contract could make it worth $30 million.

WEEI’s Rob Bradford first reported that a deal was close. Speculation had long centered on the two sides doing a two-year deal with an annual salary similar to the $14.575 million that Ortiz made last season. That $14.575 million salary, which arose after Ortiz accepted arbitration as a free agent last winter, was the highest of Ortiz’s career.

Ortiz turns 37 this month, but he hardly seemed deserving of a paycut after hitting .318/.415/.611 in 324 at-bats last season. He had 23 homers and 60 RBI before missing all but one game in the final 2 1/2 months because of an Achilles’ tendon injury.

The Rangers had also expressed some interest in Ortiz, FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal reported, but Ortiz made it clear his heart was in Boston. He’s spent 10 seasons with the team and hit 343 of his 401 career homers in a Red Sox uniform.

Once again, Cy Young votes from the Tampa Bay chapter were interesting

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In 2016, Red Sox starter Rick Porcello narrowly and controversially eked ahead of then-Tigers starter Justin Verlander in Cy Young Award balloting, winning on points 137 to 132. Verlander was not included at all in the top-five of two ballots, both coincidentally belonging to writers from the Tampa Bay chapter, MLB.com’s Bill Chastain and Fred Goodall of the Associated Press. Verlander had more first-place votes than Porcello, but being left out of the top-five on two ballots was the difference maker.

In the aftermath, Verlander’s then-fiancée Kate Upton fired off some angry tweets, as did Justin’s brother Ben.

Verlander was again in the running for the 2018 AL Cy Young Award. He again finished in second place, this time behind Blake Snell of the Rays. Snell had 17 first-place votes and 169 total points to Verlander’s 13 and 154. There weren’t any ballots that made a big difference like in 2016, but there were two odd ballots from the Tampa Bay chapter again.

If a chapter doesn’t have enough eligible voters, a voter from another chapter is chosen to represent that city. This year, Bill Madden of the New York Daily News was a replacement voter along with Mark Didtler, a freelancer for the Associated Press. Both writers voted for Snell in first place, reasonably. But neither writer put Verlander second, less reasonably, putting Corey Kluber there instead. Madden actually had Verlander fourth behind Athletics reliever Blake Treinen. Didtler had Treinen in fifth place. Two other writers had Verlander in third place: George A. King III of the New York Post and Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. The other 26 had Verlander in first or second place.

Voting Kluber ahead of Verlander doesn’t make any sense, especially we finally live in a world where a pitcher’s win-loss record isn’t valued highly. Kluber had 20 wins to Verlander’s 16 and pitched one more inning. In every other area, Verlander was better. ERA? Verlander led 2.52 to 2.89. Strikeouts? Verlander led 290 to 222. Strikeout rate? Verlander led 34.8% to 26.4%. Opponent batting average? Verlander led .198 to .222. FIP and xFIP? Verlander led both 2.78 and 3.03 to 3.12 and 3.08, respectively. And while Treinen had an excellent year, Verlander pitched 134 more innings, which is significant.

Upton had another tweet for the occasion: