Papi takes record DH single-season salary, Baseball Ref: “he’s worth it!”


Big Papi got the Big Money; he met the Red Sox halfway and is now the highest paid DH in MLB history, $14.575 million.

Ortiz did not get the multi-year deal he wanted; the Red Sox were reluctant to commit beyond a year to an over 36, over 230, defensive liability [.925% in 2011], who would limit their DH slot options for years.

Baseball Reference forecasts his 2012 stats: .283, 35 HRs, 118 RBIs, 98 Rs, SLG: .544

If he does reverse a downtrend that started in 2008 and rack up those stats, he will be worth the record-setting salary and set up a repeat of this arbitration contract dance a year from now.

The Red Sox are caught in a conundrum with Ortiz, like the labels on food: “Best when used by” and “Expiration date.” While Big Papi would like a team to assume he will maintain his “freshness” for 3-4 more years, the Red Sox prefer “Play-Pay” 1-year contracts, willing to pay a record salary each year, as long as his offensive production continues.

The Baseball Reference forecast stats this season would also be a near repeat of his 2007 offensive output: 35 HRs, 117 RBIs, but still be below his three best seasons [2004-06]:

"2004 .301, 41 HRs, 139 RBIs, 94 Rs, SLG:   .603 2005 .300, 47 HRs, 148 RBIs, 119 Rs, SLG: .604 [led MLB in RBIs] 2006 .287, 54 HRs, 137 RBIs, 115 Rs, SLG: .636  [led MLB in HRs, RBIs, Ws]"

WAR ratings geeks would note his sag from 2008-2010 [1.1, 0.5, 2.8], followed by a bounce back year in 2011 [3.8], compared to his peak of 6.0 in 2007.

Completing a full decade for the Red Sox this year, Big Papi’s Boston stats thus far:

.289, 320 HRs, 1028 RBIs, 844 Rs, SLG .570, OBP .387, OPS .958, 769 Ws, 996 Ks

*9-year averages:36 home runs a 114 RBI per season.

The agreement was reached just a few hours before the scheduled arbitration hearing in Florida at 2 p.m. ET.  The last minute agreement allows the Red Sox to maintain their record of 10 consecutive years without an arbitration hearing.

Graphic photoshopped from original photo @


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