David Ortiz grabbed attention throughout the baseball world, but especially in Red Sox Nation, this offseason through his regular contract demands. Some were angry with his harsh words, some agreed with him but all kinds of baseball fans were tuning in to hear Big Papi’s opinions. Well, it has finally happened. David Ortiz has gotten exactly what he wanted, and while a player getting “exactly what he wants” is a scary thought, it’s actually quite reasonable in the case of Ortiz: a 1 year/$16MM extension for a player who has again and again proven to be a force in the middle of the Red Sox lineup.
Even a reasonable deal like 1 year/$16MM is scary when considering that hefty amount of money is going to a 38-year old designated hitter. Ortiz is no average 38-year old designated hitter, though.
Last season he slashed .309/.395/.564 with 30 home runs and 103 RBIs, acting as a key component in what was a very potent 2013 lineup– leading the major leagues in runs scored. While Ortiz no longer has the light tower power that he had in his younger and more formidable years (he hit 41, 47, and 54 home runs in 2004-2006), he can still be counted on for close to 30 long-balls if he stays healthy as well as being one of the more likely candidates across Major League Baseball to slash .300/.400/.500 in 2014 despite being a 38-year old designated hitter.
Even if Ortiz does tail off a bit as he approaches the big four-oh, his production will still likely be worth at least $16MM. There could be some concern in that that money is entirely supporting his bat, as he does not play defense– plain and simple. However, that concern should be soothed by his production: Ortiz has posted an OPS+ of 137 or higher every year since 2010, and posted a 160 mark last season. Many players would be asking for a huge extension after that kind of production, but if the Red Sox can attain it at such a cheap price, then why not bite? And that’s just what they have done.