David Ortiz Rumors

AL East Notes: David Ortiz, Ramon Ortiz, Hughes

David Ortiz says the timing of his likely return to the Red Sox's lineup Friday is unrelated to the structure of his contract, Alex Speier of WEEI.com reports. Under his current two-year, $26MM contract, Ortiz is guaranteed $11MM in 2014, but that number would rise to $13MM if he spends 21 to 40 days on the disabled list due to his Achilles injury in 2013. It would further increase to $15MM if he spends 20 or fewer days. Thursday was Ortiz's 19th day on the DL this season. If he is not activated before Saturday, he will lose $2MM in 2014. "I just found out about [the contract clause] a couple of days ago," says Ortiz. "If I would be limping or hurting still, it is what it is. But I’m going back now because I feel ready and I want to be playing for my ball club." Here's more from the AL East.

  • At age 40, Ramon Ortiz is back in the big leagues, Steph Rogers and Evan Peaslee of MLB.com note. Ortiz's appearance with the Blue Jays on Wednesday was his first Major League outing since September 2011, when he was with the Cubs. "I know guys who are coaches and managers in the big leagues [or] the Minor Leagues. When they see me, they say 'Ramon, you're still playing?'" Ortiz says. Ortiz made 27 starts for the Yankees' Triple-A affiliate in 2012, then signed a minor-league deal with the Jays in December.
  • Yankees pitcher Phil Hughes could get $70MM as a free agent next winter, the New York Daily News' Mark Feinsand argues (on Twitter). Feinsand compares Hughes to Anibal Sanchez, who got five years and $80MM from the Tigers in December. Sanchez, though, had xFIPs of 3.25 and 3.60 in his last two seasons before free agency; Hughes' xFIPs in the last two years were 4.90 and 4.35. Peripheral numbers might not matter much in an arbitration hearing, but they matter in free agency. Feinsand is correct to note that the two players have pitched in very different park and league contexts, but the numbers still strongly suggest that Sanchez is the far better pitcher. Of course, much will depend on the way Hughes pitches in 2013. Hughes does not crack Tim Dierkes' 2014 Free Agent Power Rankings.

Quick Hits: 42, Ortiz, Quentin, Cubs

Tomorrow is the 66th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in baseball. Every player, coach, and umpire will honor Robinson by wearing his iconic jersey number 42 and it is a significant ritual appreciated by today's generation of players. "It's definitely one of those things you take a lot of pride in, putting on that jersey," said Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen (as quoted by MLB.com's Tom Singer). "What (Robinson) went through, stepping up and being that guy to take that important step…it's something we need to always remember." This weekend, the nation remembered the Hall of Famer by making the biopic 42 the domestic box office champion with $27.3MM in ticket sales. This is the first time a baseball movie has ever grossed more than $20MM in its opening weekend and is also an opening weekend record for any baseball-themed movie when adjusted for inflation, according to Forbes. Here's the latest news and notes from America's Pastime:

  • David Ortiz was scratched from his Triple-A rehab start today due to illness and it could become a very expensive setback, reports Tim Britton of the Providence Journal. Ortiz's 2014 salary will be cut by $2MM (from $15MM to $13MM), if he spends more than 20 days on the disabled list and day 20 is next Sunday. His next rehab start could come tomorrow.    
  • Carlos Quentin announced he has withdrawn his appeal and will start serving his eight-game suspension today (first reported by the USA Today's Bob Nightengale on Twitter). "I’ve had time to have dialogue with Major League Baseball and a chance for the players association to protect me and my rights as a player,” Quentin told reporters including Chris Jenkins of the San Diego Union-Tribune. “When that time passed, I’ve prepared to serve my suspension." Quentin will miss the Padres' three-game series against the Dodgers, which begins tomorrow in Los Angeles.
  • The Cubs could designate Brent Lillibridge or Alberto Gonzalez for assignment when Darwin Barney is activated from the disabled list on Tuesday, speculates the Daily Herald's Bruce Miles.

AL East Notes: Yankees, Huff, Ortiz

Earlier today we checked in on the Yankees’ search for position players and found that GM Brian Cashman views Ben Francisco as a bench player. As for the possibility of signing a free agent corner infielder, the Yankees continue weighing their options, including some familiar names. Here’s the latest from the AL East…

Quick Hits: Haren, Swisher, Ortiz, Astros

Teams must decide by tonight whether to tender contracts to their arbitration eligible players. MLBTR will have you covered throughout the evening, so be sure to follow along and use MLBTR's Non-Tender Tracker. In the meantime, here are today’s links…

  • The Angels recently checked in on Dan Haren, who’s getting interest from lots of East Coast teams, Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com reports (on Twitter).
  • Nick Swisher told Bob Nightengale of USA Today that he’s trying to enjoy the process of being a free agent. "It's supposed to be an exciting time, not a stressful time,” Swisher said. “I'm over the stressful part now. I'm going to just have fun with this. I just want to scroll to the bottom line, sign my names in a few places, and get ready to play." The Red Sox, Orioles, Mariners and Rangers have talked to Swisher’s representatives at MVP Sports Group, Nightengale reports. Swisher has also been linked to a number of National League teams, including the Nationals, Phillies, Braves and Giants. The 32-year-old said he will play first base or right field in any city.
  • David Ortiz said on WEEI said the Red Sox "need some thunder in that lineup,” Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports. The veteran designated hitter explained that he'd like to see the Red Sox re-sign free agent Cody Ross.
  • The Astros almost completed one trade this week, but GM Jeff Luhnow doesn't expect to complete any deals before the Winter Meetings, Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle reports.

Red Sox Links: Ortiz, Offseason Plans

Earlier today, the Red Sox assured that longtime designated hitter David Ortiz would be in Boston through 2014 when they signed him to a two-year deal. Earlier today, general manager Ben Cherington addressed the media regarding the makeup of his team and the upcoming offseason. WEEI.com's Alex Speier has a rundown

  • The team has decisions to make at first base, shortstop, both corner outfield positions and in the fifth spot of the rotation. Speier notes that the team must also look beyond 2013 at the team's long-term plans for center field and catcher.
  • Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Felix Doubront and John Lackey should occupy the first four spots in the rotation, but the team will go outside the organization to acquire a fifth starter. That could happen via either free agency or trade.
  • Cherington didn't sound overly optimistic when discussing his chances of re-signing Cody Ross“We’ve had a number of conversations. Obviously we’re into free agency now. We didn’t sign him before that started. The door will remain open, and we’ll continue to talk, but once we’re in free agency, he’s got opportunities to talk to other teams, and we fully expect him to do that … We'll keep talking. At the same time, we've got to consider alternatives, too."
  • The Red Sox were never particularly close to completing a trade for either Ervin Santana or Dan Haren when the Angels made both right-handers available last week.
  • Boston could hire a new pitching coach and hitting coach within a week's time.
  • Cherington told Speier that he hopes Ortiz retires as a member of the Red Sox (Twitter link). He added that he hopes that retirement is several years away.

Red Sox, Ortiz Agree To Two-Year Deal

There's been a lot of change in Boston in the last year or so, but David Ortiz isn't going anywhere.  The designated hitter known as Big Papi agreed to a two-year deal that will keep him with the Red Sox through 2014, the team announced today.

“He is an historic figure, a beloved hero, and an important player as we build our team for 2013 and beyond,” GM Ben Cherington said in a statement released by the team.

The deal is worth $26MM in total and includes a $14MM salary for 2013, an $11MM salary for 2014 and a $1MM signing bonus, according to Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com (Twitter links).  The value of the second year can increase to $13MM or $15MM depending on how much time Ortiz misses in 2013. Ortiz will earn $15MM in 2014 if he misses 20 or fewer days on the disabled list due to his Achilles injury in 2013, Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports.

Ortiz, who turns 37 in just over two weeks, posted a .318/.415/.611 batting line in 383 plate appearances this past season.  The Red Sox extended a qualifying offer worth $13.3MM to the SFX client last week.  The move would have netted the club a compensatory draft pick if he signed elsewhere, but Ortiz will instead remain as a cornerstone of the Boston lineup.

The veteran ranked 13th on MLBTR's list of top 50 free agents this offseason and figured to have multiple suitors, including the Rangers.  In ten seasons with the Red Sox, Ortiz has hit .290/.389/.573, earning eight All-Star selections along the way.

Rob Bradford of WEEI.com first reported news of the agreement. Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe (via Twitter) reported that the two sides were likely to strike a deal. Ben Nicholson-Smith contributed to this post.

Red Sox Make David Ortiz Qualifying Offer

The Red Sox extended a qualifying offer to David Ortiz, Alex Speier of WEEI.com reports (on Twitter). The free agent designated hitter now has one week to accept or decline the offer.

If Ortiz accepts, he’ll earn $13.3MM on a one-year deal in 2013. If he declines, he’ll be linked to draft pick compensation in free agency — his new team will have to surrender a top selection to sign him. Ortiz ranks 13th on MLBTR’s list of top 50 free agents. The Rangers appear to be interested in signing him, though a return to the Red Sox seems probable.

Rangers Interested In David Ortiz

The Rangers have expressed serious interest in free agent designated hitter David Ortiz, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. Texas executives envision Ortiz as someone who could replace the offense of Josh Hamilton should the outfielder sign elsewhere.

The Red Sox are still considered the favorites to sign Ortiz, Rosenthal reports. The sides continued discussing a two-year deal worth as much as $25MM this week. Only the Red Sox can sign Ortiz for now, but their exclusive negotiating period ends first thing Saturday morning.

Ortiz will likely obtain a qualifying offer from Boston later today. If he declines the offer to pursue other options he'll be linked to draft pick compensation, meaning a team such as the Rangers would have to surrender a draft pick to sign him.

Ortiz, who turns 37 later in November, posted a .318/.415/.611 batting line in 383 plate appearances this past season. He hit 23 home runs and 26 doubles, but appeared in just one game after suffering a right Achilles strain on July 16th. An SFX client, Ortiz ranks 13th on MLBTR’s list of the offseason’s top 50 free agents.

Red Sox, Ortiz Agree To Two-Year Deal

6:37pm: The deal is now in the language stage, tweets Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.

6:23pm: The deal will also include incentives that can boost the overall value to $30MM across two seasons, Bradford tweets.

6:10pm: Once the deal is finalized, it will be for two years and at least $26MM, tweets Rob Bradford of WEEI.com (via Twitter).

5:20pm: Two sources told Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe (via Twitter) that they expect Ortiz to sign a deal before the night is out.

4:50pm: The sides are "very close" to a deal, Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports (on Twitter).

NOVEMBER 2nd, 9:47am: The Red Sox and Ortiz are starting to close the gap in their negotiations, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports (on Twitter). Texas' interest is real, Cafardo writes.

11:02am: It appears likely that Ortiz will hit the open market, Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports. Boston's exclusive negotiating period ends Saturday morning, at which point Ortiz will be free to discuss a contract with any team. The Red Sox are expected to extend Ortiz a one-year qualifying offer.

NOVEMBER 1st, 8:13am: The sides hope to bridge the "modest gap" and agree to a contract within the next 24 hours, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports (on Twitter).

OCTOBER 23rd: Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe hears from both sides that Ortiz isn’t close to a deal, though talks are amicable (Twitter link).


East Links: Ortiz, Hunter, Oliver, Marlins, Phillies

Earlier tonight we had some West and Central links, so now let's complete the trifecta with some notes from baseball's two East divisions…