Red Sox, David Ortiz Settle At Midpoint

Hours before today's arbitration hearing, the Red Sox and designated hitter David Ortiz settled at the midpoint for $14.575MM, tweets ESPN's Buster Olney.  The new contract represents the largest-ever average annual value for a DH, notes WEEI's Rob Bradford.  Had Ortiz and the Red Sox reached a hearing, a panel of three arbitrators would have chosen between Boston's $12.65MM submission and Ortiz's $16.5MM salary figure for 2012.  Ortiz is represented by Fern Cuza of SFX.

Potentially inhibited by the cost of a draft pick, Ortiz accepted an arbitration offer from the Red Sox in December, and it took the looming threat of a hearing to force a settlement.  I favored the Red Sox in a potential hearing, but they preferred not to risk a situation many regard as a crapshoot.  As a bonus, they were able to avoid Ortiz having a front-row seat for their attempt to prove he's worth less than the midpoint.

Six potential arbitration hearings remain, as our tracker shows: Alexi Casilla (Twins), Casey Janssen (Blue Jays), Adam Jones (Orioles), Garrett Jones (Pirates), Casey McGehee (Pirates), and Jose Veras (Brewers).


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67 Comments on "Red Sox, David Ortiz Settle At Midpoint"


3 years 6 months ago

So who blinked on this? Big Papi didn’t want his dirty laundry aired, and Cherington didn’t want to have to walk away from a $16.5m award. Win-win, Red Sox Nation. 

chico65
3 years 6 months ago

Don’t get me wrong, I love Papi, but I’d rather see them have a reasonably priced DH and a stronger rotation instead of the current situation.  

3 years 6 months ago

What pitching that is out there would you have them get?  Oswalt?  He clearly has shown a reluctance to come here and there is nothing else out there.

expos94
3 years 6 months ago

just curious, does a team get punished by having to forfeit a pick or something if they walk away from the award?

chico65
3 years 6 months ago

Wow, talk about overpaying for a DH

johnsilver
3 years 6 months ago

The Sox have a nasty habit of offering arbitration to just about anyone it seems, not named Drew. They offered it even once to Tony Graffanino for the odd chance he would get an offer, then got stuck with him as well when he accepted.

dc21892
3 years 6 months ago

I’m okay with this. Is anyone else just pumped for this season to get under way or is it just me? Being a Sox fan I want to see what they’re going to bring this year.

MB923
3 years 6 months ago

If there is anyone who isn’t pumped up for the season to get under way, then they aren’t real baseball fans.

j6takish
3 years 6 months ago

Blah blah selfish blah blah team loyalty blah blah steroids

UltimateYankeeFan
3 years 6 months ago

I said it all along they would settle at around the $14MM mark at the 11th hour.

notsureifsrs
3 years 6 months ago

you really stuck your neck out on that one

UltimateYankeeFan
3 years 6 months ago

Not really, just used some common sense.

chico65
3 years 6 months ago

I hope your sarcasm detector is still under warranty

MB923
3 years 6 months ago

Want a medal?

UltimateYankeeFan
3 years 6 months ago

That would be nice.

Encarnacion's Parrot
3 years 6 months ago

Seems MLBTR doesn’t approve pictures anymore, but if they did, I’d send you a cookie :)

LordD99
3 years 6 months ago

I agree, although the question is why did it take so long? Settling at the mid-point is generally the way these things go, so I wonder which side wasn’t open to the mid-point until the 11th hour?  I was actually hoping this one went to arbitration just to see what happened.  My guess is Ortiz would have won since the Red Sox were only offering a little more than a 100K raise.

FillyPhan
3 years 6 months ago

Blah, I guess I’ll have to eat my words, I thought Ortiz would want to go to the hearing since the Sox barely offered above last years salary.

Steve_in_MA
3 years 6 months ago

Believe it or not, this is a big win for the Sox.  Ortiz wouldn’t settle with the team prior to today because he was requiring a two-year contract in order to settle.  Instead, the Sox get him at one year, non-guaranteed.  There is the slight possibility of releasing him in spring training if we don’t like how he is working out.

Payroll-wise, this puts us at $178.9MM on 26 MLB contracts and 14 MILB/Mixed contracts (including benefits and admin. costs that are countable).  That leaves about $10MM available in the budget (according to Lucchino’s projection of $189MM) to make additions now, or prior to the trade deadline.  But it most importantly does not tie us down for the 2013 season, where the organization clearly hopes to be under the CBT payroll line, so as to get the tax rate reset and get in on the revenue sharing kickback under the new CBA.

towney007
3 years 6 months ago

To me, writing this team off is absurd. Lackey’s ERA+ last year was the 20th worst since 1901. It’s almost impossible to find anyone who wouldn’t improve on that. To give you an idea of just *how bad* he was, Andrew Miller – had he started the whole season – would have been worth a win and a half more than Lackey. So the trash at the back of the pen will have to strive to suck that hard to be a downgrade. With Dice-K slated back in July, they only really need to get us until then.

If Bard is below average, he’ll be an upgrade over the misc. jaberwocky of pitchers they had in the #4 spot. Yes, pitching might be a concern, especially if there’s injury – but the two points with that are that 1.) any team that suffers pitching injuries is going to have issues and 2.) there’s still the trade deadline.

Fact of the matter is that the Red Sox stood to gain MORE WINS from their lineup this year than anything they could have realistically done in the rotation. A BELOW AVERAGE Carl Crawford is worth two more wins. A healthy Youkilis is another 1-2 wins. If Ross and Sweeney can combine for below average/average production in right – THAT’S another 2 wins. Their health likely mitigates any loss of Scutaro. They could seriously gain 6-7 wins by just being in better shape and not being injured constantly. They’ve replaced most to all of their production in the bullpen and improved their rotation. They’re a better team then they were last year, they – like everyone else – needs to stay focused and healthy.

chris_synan1
3 years 6 months ago

agreed, i think they are still a good team and you can’t count them out and base next season what happend in the past

BitLocker
3 years 6 months ago

 This is about the price I thought Ortiz would be around.

chris_synan1
3 years 6 months ago

Well he is the best and only true DH in baseball, so there is no downside

Mike1L
3 years 6 months ago

Not to throw a monkey-wrench in here, because I think Ortiz is clearly the best DH out there (unless you count either Prince or Cabrera when they have to start sharing IB and DH), but in terms of money, you could have bought somewhat lesser performance for a lot less money.  You have positional players like Damon (who can at least play the field, albeit not well, and run) and you have power hitters like Thome (who signed for $1.25 MM).  If money is of lesser importance, than Ortiz is obviously a better option. 

3 years 6 months ago

Papi is a big fat waste of money

Wek
3 years 6 months ago

If Ortiz was the one who wanted to settle then this shows you what happens when you don’t go to school. 
If the agent told Ortiz to settle, Ortiz should get a new one because this agent may be as bad as Hank and Hal Steinbrenner and Randy Levine in negotiations.

It is clear Ortiz will not be back to the Red Sox next year unless he takes a major paycut. Why would you take less money when you had the arbitration case already won and all you had to do was show up?

j6takish
3 years 6 months ago

 Underdogs? I’m rooting for the Sox to crush the evil Rays and their evil 42mm payroll!

2001morecowbell2001
3 years 6 months ago

here we go again…oh the plight of those 170-180 million dollar a year underdogs. Seriously youre fielding an almost identical team as last year when the sox won the April World Series. I hear what yer sayin’…but cmon.

Mike1L
3 years 6 months ago

Those of us in close proximity to the Bronx never short-sell the Red Sox.  We know you are lurking.  Relax, they have as much chance of making the playoffs as the Yankees do.

Lunchbox45
3 years 6 months ago

I wish all the times my Jays were underdogs, they had a top 2 offense in the game 😛

johnsilver
3 years 6 months ago

As long as they don’t get hammered with one of those every 10 year injury slams, like happened in 2010, nobody should be considering them 2nd fiddle to TB. They still have a front 3 as tough as there is and a lineup that puts anything the Rays could even now put on the field to shame.

The BP will be a strength as well. Doom sayers are more of those band wagoners who need to jump off and start doom saying with the Celtics (again), or just find some other sport to spread their useless blabber and misery.

This team is not that bad at all

sourbob
3 years 6 months ago

Herfderfing about payroll aside, I am pretty sure by “underdog” he was referring to how the Red Sox are nearly universally thought to have the third best collection of talent in the 2012 AL East.

j6takish
3 years 6 months ago

 Third best? Isn’t this essentially the same team that won the World Series last April?

sourbob
3 years 6 months ago

Now THAT is funny.

MB923
3 years 6 months ago

Not if the 2 wild card system is in effect. I believe the deadline to decide that is March 1st

notsureifsrs
3 years 6 months ago

not by anyone rational

2001morecowbell2001
3 years 6 months ago

I guess we just have two very different definitions of “underdog”. Nobody is saying, at all, the red sox will not compete. No one. This isn’t the Bad News Bears. Or the Pittsburgh Pirates. Underdog means someone that is expected to lose. The Red Sox will compete regardless and stand a great chance to win which =/= underdog. End of argument

MB923
3 years 6 months ago

Agreed. I hope they do more thinking into that and not just make it a 1 game winner take all. Someone actually suggested an interesting thing. Do a Best of 2 (Yes Two). Play a true or classic double header in front of the same crowd. The team with the better record hosts the games. If they win 1 of the 2 games, they win the WC. (If they win the first, they don’t play the 2nd). The Road team has to win both games to get the WC. 

I know that isn’t going to happen, but I actually like that idea.

Mike1L
3 years 6 months ago

I really don’t think so.  The collapse was bad, but the Braves basically did the same thing, and no one is writing their obituary.  Large market successful teams have bulls-eyes on their backs.  Part of that comes from the hype (Last January, Eric Ortiz wrote an article for NESN saying that the 2011
Red Sox would challenge the 1927 Yankees for the greatest team ever).  As to a .650 talent level-I’m not so sure- but there’s no reason why the Red Sox can’t win mid to high 90’s, and that puts them right in the mix.  The day the Red Sox are eliminated (if that actually happens) is the day I relax.  If last year shows us anything, it’s that nothing is impossible.

2001morecowbell2001
3 years 6 months ago

How did those Vegas odds work out last February? Im not saying people are short selling the Red Sox or picking them to finish 2nd or 3rd in arguably the strongest division in baseball. Im not saying this isn’t happening. We are bogged down in semantics and I apologize for getting you riled up. We are saying the same thing, but differently. 180 million dollar payrolls cannot = an underdog. Thats all

Vmmercan
3 years 6 months ago

What were the 2011 Mets? Favorites?

2001morecowbell2001
3 years 6 months ago

138 million dollar opening day payroll =/= 180 million.

BoSoxSam
3 years 6 months ago

I’ll stand with ya in the minority.

Lunchbox45
3 years 6 months ago

I said top 2 because I still like Texas’ offense a lot..

Aslong as Beckett, Lester and Buccholz have decent to good years, sox will be fine

BoSoxSam
3 years 6 months ago

You may be my favorite Yankees fan (course I’m just assuming you’re a Yankees fan, I could be wrong).

PWNdroia
3 years 6 months ago

That’s my argument as well.  So much drama around the Sox, but no one talksmuch about the Braves who basically did the same thing.  Media makes it much more than it is.

BoSoxSam
3 years 6 months ago

Third place in the AL East has been what MANY people believe will be Boston’s best finish this year, and that would not be enough for the playoffs. So yeah, a lot of people are saying they won’t compete. They won’t be the Pirates, sure, but it’s a big fall for fans to generally feel like Boston won’t make the playoffs is all.

That said I do not believe in that stance at all, I’m with Obsessions on this one.

BoSoxSam
3 years 6 months ago

Makes me think of how some Little League and high school tournaments are run round where I live. I like it.

PWNdroia
3 years 6 months ago

It should just be a best of two out of three games IMO with the team with the better record hosting at least two of them (if not all).

Vmmercan
3 years 6 months ago

So then what is your definition of an underdog? What is the magical and completely arbitrary payroll salary making a team immune to “underdog” status? Somewhere between 138-180 million? Is it just the Yankees and Red Sox and Phillies who can never be an underdog?

What would happen if three teams in one division had a payroll over 150 million? Can none be an underdog because they all have high payrolls? Your logic seems to be flawed. Underdog is when you are a team and your competition has more talent or is favored. It has nothing to do with payroll, though often times higher salaries can mean more talent. In the AL East, the Rays happen to be the best run organization, maybe in all of sports. The Yankees are a better team on paper than the Sox. By definition, that makes the Red Sox, 138 million, 180 million, 300 million dollar payroll, an underdog. Period.

BoSoxSam
3 years 6 months ago

Your last line is key, I am totally fine paying him 14m for one year rather than the two-year deal he was looking for. Say goodbye to him next year unless he hits 60 homers or something crazy, and just enjoy this last year of DH production.

icedrake523
3 years 6 months ago

 Robot Chicken reference?

3 years 6 months ago

Or really, nothing like Jesus Montero than except for that fact he is big and mobile.

JB3
3 years 6 months ago

Depends on who you talk to.  Many scouts are coming around on his defense, saying he could be an everyday catcher.  Personally, I’d like to see him stay in AAA at least for the 1st half to continue improving his D, but his time as Bostons starting catcher isn’t far off.

johnsilver
3 years 6 months ago

I would have rather had Lavarnway also. Not offered ortiz arbitration.. Thereby saving the team 15m, let Lowrie play 3b.. The team could have still gone after Punto..

Of course Lowrie was a key piece in the melancon deal, but Youk’s health needs protected and him getting 60+ games as a DH, then letting Lavarnway DH many more would have been perfect to me and the team even without Ortiz needs RH bats more than lefties..

Being able to sometimes stack both Youk and Lavarnway in games against tough lefties seems to me would have been the way to go and saved 15m.

Not saying Shop is useless, was against moving him years ago anyway and he has a good arm, but they should have targeted him 2..Even 3 years ago as a Varitek replacement, instead of now when they actually have someone else capable of playing 1-2 games a week behind the plate.

icedrake523
3 years 6 months ago

 Ah, in the Robot Chicken parody the son was caught cross-dressing.

PWNdroia
3 years 6 months ago

But you’re missing the point that Lowrie is just as much (or even more) injury prone than Youkilis.  Why replace an injury prone third baseman with another one?  Unless I’m completely missing your point… 

PWNdroia
3 years 6 months ago

Almost identical, yes, but not necessarily in terms of injuries and underplaying/overplaying.  Crawford’s due to do much better, and we could possibly have a healthy Buccholz.  Ellsbury probably won’t do as well.  So the team may be nearly identical in terms of players, but the stats won’t be.

Mike1L
3 years 6 months ago

 Definitely a Yankee fan, just a realist.  We aren’t that bad. 

MB923
3 years 6 months ago

Well I wouldn’t mind a best of 3 either, however it will be too many days off for all the other teams.

johnsilver
3 years 6 months ago

Right.. Then you still have Youk and it’s not really Lowrie playing 3B FT, but half and half… youk will get his rest in the DH slot, Lavarnway and his power RH bat will get into the game whenever lefties are on the mound, then for sure Youk will be at 3B, plus of course Youk may get a few more games in at 3B.

lowrie would just be sort of “penciled in” as the regular at 3b and Youk the DH, but both would share it and Lavarnway would be sort of splitting DH time and getting into a game or 2 a week behind the plate.

johnsilver
3 years 6 months ago

Right.. Then you still have Youk and it’s not really Lowrie playing 3B FT, but half and half… youk will get his rest in the DH slot, Lavarnway and his power RH bat will get into the game whenever lefties are on the mound, then for sure Youk will be at 3B, plus of course Youk may get a few more games in at 3B.

lowrie would just be sort of “penciled in” as the regular at 3b and Youk the DH, but both would share it and Lavarnway would be sort of splitting DH time and getting into a game or 2 a week behind the plate.

GoAwayNow
3 years 6 months ago

 Thorough analysis. Too bad there are no fat (CC, Joba), cheating (ARod), over priced losers(Arod, Jeter, Burnett, Soriano)  on the Yankees I could name in response

PWNdroia
3 years 6 months ago

 Exactly.  That’s the problem.

PWNdroia
3 years 6 months ago

You do realize Lowrie was traded don’t you?  Or is this only hypothetically speaking?

And if Lavarnway doesn’t practice catching at AAA, then he will likely be nothing more than a DH in his career.

johnsilver
3 years 6 months ago

“Of course Lowrie was a key piece in the melancon deal”

Hypothetical. Mentioned in the initial post that Lowrie was moved in the melancon deal to shore up the Pen.

Lavarnway has been working on his catching now for 3 years and is “supposedly” doing fair. granted, he was forced to share the load with team mate Fed-X his 1st 2 1/2 seasons as they were on the same path in the system.. 1 catching while the other DH’d, but Lavarnway still got in a good amount of games behind the plate.

BoSoXaddict
3 years 6 months ago

Supposedly the sox were willing to go as high as 18mil on a 2 year deal while Papi countered with 25. Even if his AAV would have been a few million less on a 2 year deal, I think this was probably the better outcome.