Extension Expected for Ortiz, But Should It Get Done?

Credit: Getty Images

Credit: Getty Images

With spring training officially under way, David Ortiz and his request for a contract extension has become the hot topic in Fort Myers and in Boston, but should it get done?  

Yesterday, Ortiz had some harsh words for his critics as he sat down with John Tomase of the Boston Herald:

“I don’t even know why they’re bitching about me talking about contracts,” Ortiz said. “Guys putting up my numbers, they’re making $25, $30 million. I’m not asking for that. I’m asking for half of it. And they’re still bitching about it?

“[Expletive] them,” Ortiz continued. “I’m tired of hearing them talk [expletive] about me when I talk about my contract. Hey, every time I talk about my contract, I earn it.”

According to Forbes, the highest paid players on base salary are Derek Jeter ($17 million), Mark Teixeira ($22.5 million), Joe Mauer ($23 million), Prince Fielder ($23 million), CC Sabathia ($23 million), Zach Greinke ($24 million), Cliff Lee ($25 million), Felix Hernandez ($25 million), Johan Santana ($25.5 million) and Alex Rodriguez ($29 million).

Right off the bat, you will notice that five of the ten are starting pitchers. Also, right off the bat you will notice that four players play for the Yankees, who notoriously overpay their athletes.

Since Teixeira only played in 15 games in 2013 due to injury, Jeter only played in 17 and Rodriguez was at the center of the scandal only playing 44 games, comparing Ortiz to Joe Mauer and Prince Fielder seems fair:

Player 2013 Avg. 2013 OBP 2013 HR 2013 RBI Career Avg.
David Ortiz .309 .395 30 103 .287
Joe Mauer .324 .405 11 47 .323
Prince Fielder .279 .362 25 106 .286

No doubt Ortiz had a great year and was right up there with Fielder, who struggled this past season as he declined in homeruns, RBI’s and batting average, but career-wise Fielder is right with Ortiz. Fielder averages 31 homeruns per season in nine seasons – Ortiz averages 25 homeruns per season in his 17 seasons in the league.

Ortiz is 38 years old and Fielder is 29 so age is a factor in long-term, big money contracts. Fielder has also played over 151 games at first base every season since 2006. Ortiz is primarily a DH never playing more than 70 games in the field and he only did that once back in 1998.

Mauer doesn’t hit for power as much as Ortiz and Fielder, but his career OBP is .405 and obviously his career batting average is more than Ortiz and Fielder. With 10 years under his belt, those numbers reflect the kind of player he is and he’s still just 30 years old.

Mauer also plays first base and outfield so he is versatile and I hate to keep coming back to that fact, but he technically does more than Ortiz on the field. Playing the field and age both play into contracts.

I’ll make a bold statement and say that the Boston Red Sox would NOT have won a World Series without Ortiz in 2013, but they took a chance on him last offseason giving him a two-year deal at his age (37) and coming off an injury – Ortiz should play it out and he shouldn’t have so much support from fans as he complains about contracts regularly.

CBS’s Dan Roche is down in Fort Myers and Ortiz arrived a few days ago. John Henry is also expected to be coming down and Roche told 98.5’s Toucher and Rich that he expects an extension will get done.

The ownership doesn’t want one of their fan-favorite players to go anywhere and now that Ortiz has made comments publicly, it’s in their court. Roche believes the extension will likely get done prior to the end of spring.

He definitely deserves at least half of what those players make, even more in my opinion, but he signed a good deal for him in 2013 and now that it has become a good deal for the team, he shouldn’t complain because they extended themselves last offseason. For what it’s worth, I love Ortiz. I still wouldn’t extend him right now, but I do have that feeling that most fans have- I don’t want to see him end his career in a different uniform.

Josh Brown

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