David Ortiz, the 28-year old slugger for the Boston Red Sox, has agreed to a two-year extension plus a club option that could keep him in red socks through 2007. The money that Ortiz signed for is very cheap, as he will make $5.25 million next year, then $6.5 million the year after. The club option is worth $7.5 million. If Ortiz’s 2007 option is picked up, that would bring the grand total to three years and $19.25 million, still under what Manny Ramirez makes in a single year.
Pedro Martinez helped Ortiz agree to the length and money of the contract, saying that the best move Ortiz could do was to remain in Boston. David Ortiz stated that “right now it’s not all about the money. … You don’t get all your happiness from money. You get your happiness from the guys around you.”
The season is a quarter of the way through, which means that Ortiz is on pace for 40 home-runs and 128 RBI, while Manny Ramirez is on pace for 40 home-runs and 108 RBI. If Ortiz and Ramirez have the same number of at-bats this year as Ramirez did last year (569), Ortiz would have 35 HR and 110 RBI, while Manny would have 35 HRs and 98 RBI.
Now that Ortiz is locked up, that leaves four left out of the Big Six to resign, the remaining members being Pedro Martinez, Nomar Garciaparra, Jason Varitek, and Derek Lowe. My own personal opinion has us resigning two of the four people.
I believe the Red Sox will resign Pedro Martinez. It is obvious that Pedro has very good feelings about Boston if he was able to entice Ortiz to resign. If Pedro did not want to come back, and Ortiz is one of his closest friends, I bet Pedro would have stayed out of it. Factor in that this is the first true year that Pedro has seemed mortal (3.75 ERA) and I can see Pedro signing another contract.
Nomar Garciaparra will not return. As the season progresses, thoughts creep into my mind as to whether Nomar will return this season at all. Even if Nomar returns, the success we have had with Pokey Reese and Mark Bellhorn cannot be denied. Perhaps the Sox brass will see that the money that would go to Nomar could be better spent elsewhere.
Jason Varitek will probably sign a two-year contract to return. The Red Sox have a Jason Varitek clone in the minors (albeit with less power), and so we are not too hard pressed to sign Varitek to a long-term contract. Signing him to a two-year contract would allow this prospect (Kelly Shoppach) to mature as a major league backup catcher, and would also keep the heart and soul of this team on the team.
Derek Lowe will most likely not return. Lowe already had a big strike against him, what with his agent being Scott Boras, who loves free agency. Lest you forget, Boras is also Alex Rodriguez’s agent. Second, Lowe’s ERA is 6.02, which is one of the worst in the league. He does not even qualify under statistics as a starting pitcher, as he has been knocked out of too many games to qualify.
The Red Sox’s front office has a lot of hard decisions to make in the coming months, but the on-field personnel are not letting it distract them as they remain in first place and eagerly await the returns of Ellis Burks, Nomar Garciaparra, Trot Nixon, and Scott Williamson off the DL. Once those four return to action, this will truly be a team you do not want to tangle with.