Red Sox sign David Ortiz to $16 million contract for 2015

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From Rob Bradford of WEEI comes word that the Red Sox have agreed to a one-year, $16 million contract extension with veteran designated hitter David Ortiz. The deal will be announced by the team on Monday.

Ortiz was already under contract for $15 million in 2014, and now gets a nice $1 million raise for the 2015 campaign. He made his desire for a one-year extension well known this winter and the defending World Series-champion Red Sox came through a week before Opening Day.

Ortiz hit .688 (11-for-16) with two home runs and six RBI in last year’s World Series and .309/.395/.564 with 30 home runs and 103 RBI in 137 games during the 2013 regular season.

The new contract keeps him in Boston through age 39.

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.