David Ortiz, Elder Batsman

trekfan55

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Plympton91 said:
I think the Red Sox now and those in Ortiz's corner could also point out that he regularly plays 1B without embarrassing himself in National League parks during interleague and has started at 1B in every World Series game the Red Sox have played in an NL park (displacing Millar, Youkilis, and Napoli in the process, so not a no brainer if he were in fact a defensive liability).  He's played 32 regular season games at 1B since 2007 with only 1 error, further demonstrating that he could play 1B without being a disaster defensively if he needed to.  In contrast, during the latter stage of his career, Edgar Martinez played a total of 8 games in the field combined from 1999 to 2004, none after 2001.
 
He played a very good 1B in the World Series, and seeing him on the field, fooling around (when he pulled an Andrus on a pop up to Pedroia) or generally bantering and encouraging teammates made me want to see more of him playing 1B regularly, but his knees probably would not take it.
 

The Allented Mr Ripley

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Yeah, his limited playing time at 1B was never really so much about his glove as it was to minimize wear and tear given his injury history. That was the thought process as far back as 2003/2004.
 

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trekfan55 said:
 
He played a very good 1B in the World Series, and seeing him on the field, fooling around (when he pulled an Andrus on a pop up to Pedroia) or generally bantering and encouraging teammates made me want to see more of him playing 1B regularly, but his knees probably would not take it.
 
Probably not:
 
 
David Ortiz sat on the couch in the middle of an angry and confused Red Sox clubhouse. He had ice packs strapped to both knees, and a long night standing at first base felt much, much longer after he watched the mayhem unfold across the diamond.
 
Will Middlebrooks flat on his stomach. Allen Craig scrambling to climb over him. Craig getting tagged out by Jarrod Saltalamacchia at the plate but being called safe because of an obstruction ruling. The Cardinals flooding the field to celebrate one of the unlikeliest 5-4 wins they'll ever remember in Game 3 of the World Series.
 
As reporters closed around Ortiz Saturday night, he wasn't in the mood to talk. Mustering the strength to stand, all Big Papi said was, "Watch the replay."
 

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Give him a Wakefield type contract, at $10,000,000, plus an extra $1,000,000 for 300, 400, and 500 at bats.  Brings him to just about his average salary for the past 8 years.  Automatically renews each year for another year when he is on the roster opening day.
 

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Lose Remerswaal said:
Give him a Wakefield type contract, at $10,000,000, plus an extra $1,000,000 for 300, 400, and 500 at bats.  Brings him to just about his average salary for the past 8 years.  Automatically renews each year for another year when he is on the roster opening day.
 
I would do that in a heartbeat.  
 

JimD

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Lose Remerswaal said:
Give him a Wakefield type contract, at $10,000,000, plus an extra $1,000,000 for 300, 400, and 500 at bats.  Brings him to just about his average salary for the past 8 years.  Automatically renews each year for another year when he is on the roster opening day.
 
Really, this should be a no-brainer.  The $10 million payoff he'd get at the end has been earned multiple times over.
 

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The best approach for the Red Sox, in a vacuum, is to throw qualifying offers at him until he loses his bat or retires. However, in the interest of keeping him and the fan base as happy as possible, with the acknowledgement they may over pay by the end of it, I'd be comfortable with 2 years at 13 million AAV with a third year vesting option based on plate appearances.
 

Lose Remerswaal

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It's not a reduction.  Right now he's promised $15 million for 2014, and nothing after that.  With this deal, he's guaranteed $10 million more than that if he makes the 2014 opening day roster (if you want to guarantee the that $10 million right now, I'm ok with that).  Then, as long as he's healthy and productive, he will continue to earn up to $13 million/year.
 
I'm also ok with bumping the figures in this contract -- I did look at the Wakefield deal, though, and the numbers went down from his peak when he got the guaranteed rollover deal.
 
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trekfan55 said:
 
He played a very good 1B in the World Series, and seeing him on the field, fooling around (when he pulled an Andrus on a pop up to Pedroia) or generally bantering and encouraging teammates made me want to see more of him playing 1B regularly, but his knees probably would not take it.
 
This is the real argument against him.  Ortiz, like all professional DH have had an unnaturally extended career handed to them by the very nature of their position.  Given his physique and injury history, do you really think Ortiz would still be playing pro ball at age 38 if the league didn't have the DH?  His Achilles or knees would have given out a loooong time ago.
 
So, the argument goes: how do you judge/compare half a player against the rest of the Hall?
 
A counter point may well be: how many players are in the HoF because of stellar defense albeit average hitting?  Not many at all.  Let's face it, except for pitchers, it's the Hall of Offense.  So why not Ortiz?
 

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Yaz's '78 Popup said:
 
This is the real argument against him.  Ortiz, like all professional DH have had an unnaturally extended career handed to them by the very nature of their position.  Given his physique and injury history, do you really think Ortiz would still be playing pro ball at age 38 if the league didn't have the DH?  His Achilles or knees would have given out a loooong time ago.
 
So, the argument goes: how do you judge/compare half a player against the rest of the Hall?
 
A counter point may well be: how many players are in the HoF because of stellar defense albeit average hitting?  Not many at all.  Let's face it, except for pitchers, it's the Hall of Offense.  So why not Ortiz?
 
There is already a DH penalty in value-oriented statistics based on their lack of playing defense (unless they were truly horrible defenders). If David Ortiz is an average defensive first baseman, which is probably pretty close to the truth, his gain in career length is already offset sufficiently by the value that has been sacrificed versus playing him in the field. There is no reason to double-penalize him by again discounting the performance he really did provide.
 
Should we have penalized Rickey Henderson for extending his career and his legs by being a LF instead of a CF when he probably had the skills, at least early in his career, to be a more valuable player in CF? The answer is the same. No. That value differential is already part of the calculation and we should not account for it a second time. 
 
I'm not sure that Ortiz belongs in the HoF, although I think there is a reasonably strong argument on his behalf and that he likely gets in. I am sure Edgar Martinez does belong in and that the general anti-DH argument is worthless. We should judge players for what they contributed in totality. Arbitrarily assessing additional penalties for playing the wrong position when the position played is already baked in to how we value players makes absolutely no sense. Because, the logical extension of the no-DH argument is an only-SS and C argument. Because, everyone else is extending their careers by playing less demanding positions that they are only playing because they aren't athletic enough to play the more difficult position. 
 
TL;DR version: Judge players for what they do accomplish, not based on arbitrary standards of what a player should accomplish. Player value stats account for what position a player plays and we don't need to superimpose penalties above and beyond those calculations.
 

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David Ortiz is already in my Hall of Fame. He is my Audie Murphy of this team. Without jumping into the bs surrounding the 2009 NYTimes report (regarding his being "named" on a doping list in 2003), I will only submit that if David was an offender, it is likely he would have been exposed with the likes of Manny, Clemens, Cruz, Braun, Pettitte, Peralta and/or Bonds, McGwire or Sosa, etc.. Ortiz has done everything but take tickets for this team. His "Big Moments" are legendary and his stats compare favorably to any player in his generation. He has meant everything to the Red Sox.
 
After reading through the "How We Got Here" links (especially how Ben and Ownership - later to include Farrell- went through their honest self-evaluation and established a new strategic plan for success) , it would be likely interpreted that David Ortiz would be the poster-guy for short-term extensions, regardless of a perceived overpay. Lose and Snod are all over it: There should be enough respect between the Sox and Ortiz that they can make something work between now and his contract expiration after 2014.
 

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In today's game; just do the $15,000,000 mutual annual option and make this a non-issue. Red Sox for life. (Insert what has been said time and time again here)
 

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Tom Verducci nominates David Ortiz as SI's Sportsman of the Year.
 
 
The Red Sox held a 6-1 lead over St. Louis in the bottom of the eighth inning at Fenway Park, leaving only three outs before they would win the first world championship on their home and hallowed ground since 1918. On a properly chilled and clear autumnal night, Fenway filled with the joy and revelry typically found in Times Square in the last hour of New Year's Eve before the ball drops. Certitude reigned. It was only a matter of when, not if.
 
At such an anticipatory moment, as Ortiz ambled his bearlike body into the batter's box, he made sure to turn to his friend, and Cardinals catcher, Yadier Molina, for a conversation in Spanish.
 
"Hey, Yadi," Ortiz said he told him. "You are special, what you do. I know it's a tough part of the game right now for you, and you don't feel right now the way you want to. But you did it. Even if you don't win this game, you did it. You are one of the guys that play the game the right way and everybody has fun watching you. I have fun watching you. Don't feel bad about yourself. You're doing things great."
 
"Thank you," Molina replied, reaching out his right hand to touch Ortiz. "Much respect to you."
 
Ortiz and Molina have been friends for the better part of a decade. Ortiz has been sure to visit Puerto Rico in offseasons to help with Molina's charitable fundraisers. During the World Series Ortiz even helped Molina with the leg kick in his swing, later explaining about such benevolence toward the enemy, "I want you to be better. I get respect from the league not only because of what I do [at the plate], but because I do that. Like I try to let young players know how to do things right so they can play the game longer. That's what I like doing. I'm not selfish when it comes down to that. I got kids, and they love baseball, and who knows if one of those guys one day has to sit down with one of my kids about how to get better."
 

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I like the fact that Verducci used the qualifier "in the testing Era" as a tacit pre-emptive debunking of the "he's old he must be juicing" innuendo out there. (I'm not loooking for a debate on the substance of that particular issue....)
 

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What's Ortiz' value to a traditional enemy with a short right field porch? The sum of (A+B), where (A)=what he brings to the plate for you; and (B)=the hole he creates in the RS lineup.
 

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joe dokes said:
I like the fact that Verducci used the qualifier "in the testing Era" as a tacit pre-emptive debunking of the "he's old he must be juicing" innuendo out there. (I'm not loooking for a debate on the substance of that particular issue....)
I like the fact that verducci used "in the testing era" because steroids were so much a part of the game that only the most holier than thou players refrained and everyone else was just trying to compete at the same level as everyone else. At this point, I just assume all players of that era were juicing. Every last one. And it doesn't bother me anymore because that's what baseball was at the time. The only players I still blame were the ones that didn't understand the value of subtlety.

To say that Ortiz may have used products that included banned substances prior to a legitimate testing structure is no more telling to me than saying he played baseball in 2002.
 

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drbretto said:
I like the fact that verducci used "in the testing era" because steroids were so much a part of the game that only the most holier than thou players refrained and everyone else was just trying to compete at the same level as everyone else. At this point, I just assume all players of that era were juicing. Every last one. And it doesn't bother me anymore because that's what baseball was at the time. The only players I still blame were the ones that didn't understand the value of subtlety.

To say that Ortiz may have used products that included banned substances prior to a legitimate testing structure is no more telling to me than saying he played baseball in 2002.
As to what we can call "the Steroid Era," I agree with this.  I was talking more about, for example, Shaughnessy's recent not-very-thinly veiled "he showed up on a list, sucked, got old, and now he's great" innuendo-fest a week or so ago. And he's not the only one.  As I said, I think "the testing era" is a temporal reference, but also shot at those who buy into what the "he's still doing it" crowd is selling.
 

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joe dokes said:
As to what we can call "the Steroid Era," I agree with this.  I was talking more about, for example, Shaughnessy's recent not-very-thinly veiled "he showed up on a list, sucked, got old, and now he's great" innuendo-fest a week or so ago. And he's not the only one.  As I said, I think "the testing era" is a temporal reference, but also shot at those who buy into what the "he's still doing it" crowd is selling.
Shank is always looking for those clicks from NYC. Sox fans hate him just like Yankee fans hate Lupica. 
As far as I"m concerned neither one of them  is  half the writer that Bob Ryan is.
 

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joe dokes said:
As to what we can call "the Steroid Era," I agree with this.  I was talking more about, for example, Shaughnessy's recent not-very-thinly veiled "he showed up on a list, sucked, got old, and now he's great" innuendo-fest a week or so ago. And he's not the only one.  As I said, I think "the testing era" is a temporal reference, but also shot at those who buy into what the "he's still doing it" crowd is selling.
What is most annoying about this narrative is how accepted it has become that Ortiz has ever "sucked" or that his recent success is some type of miraculous rebound.
Since coming to the Sox the only time Ortiz "sucked" was for one month at the beginning of 2008 and then again for two months at the beginning of 2009*. That type of time limited, small sample size dip in production is what is typically called a slump - not a decline.  In fact, I bet it would be hard to find any hitter in all of baseball more consistently productive over the last 10 years than David Ortiz.
 
*Amazingly, outside of those three months, as a member of the Red Sox Ortiz has had only two full months worth of ABs (minimum 75 PA) with an OPS below .800 (.768 in September of 2011 and .782 in July of 2013). By contrast, Derek Jeter -  widely seen as one of the more consistent hitters of his generation- has had 9 full months (minimum 75 PA) of sub-.700 OPS production during the same period (i.e. since 2003).
 

JimBoSox9

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drbretto said:
To say that Ortiz may have used products that included banned substances prior to a legitimate testing structure is no more telling to me than saying he played baseball in 2002.
 
He didn't play baseball in 2002.  He bunted for the Twins.
 

JimD

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Otis Foster said:
What's Ortiz' value to a traditional enemy with a short right field porch? The sum of (A+B), where (A)=what he brings to the plate for you; and (B)=the hole he creates in the RS lineup.
That train has left the station - there is no way that Ortiz trashes his Boston legacy to chase a few more dollars in pinstripes.
 

The Mort Report

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Pete Abraham ‏@PeteAbe2m
David Ortiz said his agent is discussing a one-year extension with the #RedSox
 
 
I think giving him an extra year is a phenomenal idea.  He was so productive this year that, even if a drop off happens next year he's productive enough, and a ticket-selling, FA drawing player that some franchise will offer more than a one year for(Hello Seattle).  Id rather they gamble on essentially signing him to a one year deal for next offseason now than wait to see how 2014 goes for him.  If he falls apart in 2014 well shit that sucks, but only at the expense of one extra year.  If the RS have to give him a 2 year deal next year that is much more of a gamble.
 

JimBoSox9

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I mean, we kind of know how this goes by now. Ortiz isn't leaving Boston and he's not playing on a lame duck contract -doubly so as long as he's coming off a good year. It's the Wakefield Plus One contract.
 

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JimBoSox9 said:
I mean, we kind of know how this goes by now. Ortiz isn't leaving Boston and he's not playing on a lame duck contract -doubly so as long as he's coming off a good year. It's the Wakefield Plus One contract.
 
Wakefield's was the opposite--it was a perpetual lame duck contract.
 
EDIT: Which maybe is what "Wakefield Plus One" means?
 

jimbobim

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The Red Sox have no leverage which is why they refuse to answer any questions. Papi will get what he wants in this case some sort of 2 year deal 38-40 million dollar deal. Maybe more. I can't see him retiring elsewhere. 
 

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jimbobim said:
The Red Sox have no leverage which is why they refuse to answer any questions. Papi will get what he wants in this case some sort of 2 year deal 38-40 million dollar deal. Maybe more. I can't see him retiring elsewhere. 
You can't see him retiring elsewhere but the Sox have no leverage?  That doesn't add up.  
 
I have a hard time seeing them giving him a two year deal at $20m per, at his age.  
 

jimbobim

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Listen the Red Sox have leverage but Papi is a key guy to keep happy which sometimes means not using all your leverage. For example I would not allow him to reach free agency. 
 

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jimbobim said:
Listen the Red Sox have leverage but Papi is a key guy to keep happy which sometimes means not using all your leverage. For example I would not allow him to reach free agency. 
So that means you would give him whatever he wants. Huh.
 

drbretto

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I think both sides have enough respect for each other that leverage isn't a factor here. Each side will present a fair enough offer favoring their own sides then meet in the middle, drama free.
 

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Minneapolis Millers said:
You can't see him retiring elsewhere but the Sox have no leverage?  That doesn't add up.  
 
I have a hard time seeing them giving him a two year deal at $20m per, at his age.  
 
I think two years at $20M is too much, and I don't think that's where it'll end up. But a 2015 extension at $20M, making it 2/35, sounds both possible and reasonable (not in the sense that he'll actually earn $20M in 2015, but overall).
 
Look at it this way: he has, according to FG, provided just under $50M in value over the past three seasons while pulling down just over $41M in pay. So the Sox have gotten >$8M in excess value just in the past three years, which I am going to guess, with some confidence, is an extremely rare scenario for an elite middle-of-the-order hitter in his mid-30s.
 
If we assume Ortiz is going to provide about $25 million in value over the next two years, which seems like the right middle ground--it assumes he'll pretty much earn his $15M next year with a 3-win season, and then decline sharply but not disastrously in 2015--then an extension amounting to 2/35 is about a $10M overpay. But he's already given us almost all of that excess $10M in overperformance in recent years, so it all washes out. Add the PR value of being able to say we've rewarded Papi appropriately for his years of leadership and general awesomeness, and ensured that he will retire in a Boston uniform, and you're really coming out pretty much even, without committing yourself unduly in terms of time. If decline comes sudden and ugly next year, then there's one year of massive overpay, but again, it's really only massive if you focus on the short term.
 
So I'm thinking a one-year extension at $20M or near that, plus maybe a mutual option for a third year at somewhere between 10 and 15 million in case he's still going strong in his age 39 year and he and the Sox both want to go for a shot at 500 HR at age 40.
 

Sampo Gida

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I thought they had an agreement not to discuss an extension or new contract until this one was over?. 
 
Papi never made the money I felt he deserved due to the stigma of being a DH, which knocks off about 1 WAR for positioning or lack thereof.  With his buddy Cano getting 240 million and Napoli with his hip issue making more than him, I can understand why he would like a bit more "respect". 
 

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Savin Hillbilly said:
I think two years at $20M is too much, and I don't think that's where it'll end up. But a 2015 extension at $20M, making it 2/35, sounds both possible and reasonable (not in the sense that he'll actually earn $20M in 2015, but overall).
 
Look at it this way: he has, according to FG, provided just under $50M in value over the past three seasons while pulling down just over $41M in pay. So the Sox have gotten >$8M in excess value just in the past three years, which I am going to guess, with some confidence, is an extremely rare scenario for an elite middle-of-the-order hitter in his mid-30s.
 
If we assume Ortiz is going to provide about $25 million in value over the next two years, which seems like the right middle ground--it assumes he'll pretty much earn his $15M next year with a 3-win season, and then decline sharply but not disastrously in 2015--then an extension amounting to 2/35 is about a $10M overpay. But he's already given us almost all of that excess $10M in overperformance in recent years, so it all washes out. Add the PR value of being able to say we've rewarded Papi appropriately for his years of leadership and general awesomeness, and ensured that he will retire in a Boston uniform, and you're really coming out pretty much even, without committing yourself unduly in terms of time. If decline comes sudden and ugly next year, then there's one year of massive overpay, but again, it's really only massive if you focus on the short term.
 
So I'm thinking a one-year extension at $20M or near that, plus maybe a mutual option for a third year at somewhere between 10 and 15 million in case he's still going strong in his age 39 year and he and the Sox both want to go for a shot at 500 HR at age 40.
This sounds right to me. The right number to me seems like $18 million. At 2/33, it makes him the highest paid Red Sox next year by 500k, which I think is symbolic. Its an overpay for two reasons. First, there is no reason to extend him at all. The smart non-emotional baseball move is to talk after there is one more season of information. Second, it's not rational to peg his expected WAR probability for 2015 at 3.5 or so. He might do it, but it's more probable than not that he will be lower.

It still seems like right move to me. I think Papi has the leverage here. You can't cater to unreasonable "respect" demands, but I think you have to be mindful if you're the Sox, seeing him in another uniform would be more demoralizing than 1 WAR here or there. It is hard to imagine a circumstance in which he leaves where he doesn't get the benefit of the doubt over management and where it doesn't pull at the fabric of the team in a way no other departure could. So how to rationalize an overpay and unnecessary extension for a team that's becoming the standard bearer for trying not to overpay? The past value provide is one way. Another might be that this team is going to have some young players, and though I think many "intangibles" claims are overinflated, you really couldn't imagine a better guy in MLB to help make younger teammates better.
 

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Savin Hillbilly said:
 
Look at it this way: he has, according to FG, provided just under $50M in value over the past three seasons while pulling down just over $41M in pay. So the Sox have gotten >$8M in excess value just in the past three years, which I am going to guess, with some confidence, is an extremely rare scenario for an elite middle-of-the-order hitter in his mid-30s.
 
If we assume Ortiz is going to provide about $25 million in value over the next two years, which seems like the right middle ground--it assumes he'll pretty much earn his $15M next year with a 3-win season, and then decline sharply but not disastrously in 2015--then an extension amounting to 2/35 is about a $10M overpay. But he's already given us almost all of that excess $10M in overperformance in recent years, so it all washes out. Add the PR value of being able to say we've rewarded Papi appropriately for his years of leadership and general awesomeness, and ensured that he will retire in a Boston uniform, and you're really coming out pretty much even, without committing yourself unduly in terms of time. If decline comes sudden and ugly next year, then there's one year of massive overpay, but again, it's really only massive if you focus on the short term.
 
 
 
I strongly disagree with this line of thinking.  You don't pay for past performance, even if it's a guy we all like such as Ortiz.  You should just be happy Ortiz outperformed his contract, because you know there are going to be plenty of other contracts that don't work out as well.  That's where these things "even out" from the team's perspective.
 
Pay Ortiz what you think is a fair contract going forward, not some extra bonus because he's been good the past few years. I think I'd extend him another year at something approaching 15M.  Thats a ton of money for an old DH a year into the future.  If he wants close to 20M or more, just ride out this season.  Even with another strong year, hard to see how he's going to make significantly more on the FA market and make you regret not extending him.
 
PR value comes with winning games, not giving players extra money for a previous job well done. 
 

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radsoxfan said:
 
 
I strongly disagree with this line of thinking.  You don't pay for past performance, even if it's a guy we all like such as Ortiz.  You should just be happy Ortiz outperformed his contract, because you know there are going to be plenty of other contracts that don't work out as well.  That's where these things "even out" from the team's perspective.
 
Pay Ortiz what you think is a fair contract going forward, not some extra bonus because he's been good the past few years. I think I'd extend him another year at something approaching 15M.  Thats a ton of money for an old DH a year into the future.  If he wants close to 20M or more, just ride out this season.  Even with another strong year, hard to see how he's going to make significantly more on the FA market and make you regret not extending him.
 
PR value comes with winning games, not giving players extra money for a previous job well done. 
 
I think you're overstating your case. PR value doesn't come from "giving players extra money for a previous job well done," but it does come from keeping iconic players happy enough so they don't wind up going off and finishing their career with some other team. That's not something you pay a ton of money for, but there shouldn't be any need to pay a ton of money for it.
 
I wasn't suggesting they should overpay Ortiz because they've underpaid him in recent years. I was suggesting that if keeping him happy would require overpaying him, the fact that they've been getting more than money's worth from him lately should make that easier to swallow.
 

radsoxfan

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Savin Hillbilly said:
 
I think you're overstating your case. PR value doesn't come from "giving players extra money for a previous job well done," but it does come from keeping iconic players happy enough so they don't wind up going off and finishing their career with some other team. That's not something you pay a ton of money for, but there shouldn't be any need to pay a ton of money for it.
 
Well you basically said its OK to overpay Ortiz for PR reasons and because he outperformed his contract over the past few years.  Unless you are backtracking from that stance, I disagree with you. Maybe I'm just not sentimental enough, but I don't think that's a good way to run a team. Perhaps it's not worth a drawn out negotiation with the face of the franchise, so I'd understand trying to end things quickly with a softer negotiation and caving on 500K or 1M or something. But making up the 9M value difference you referred to is way too much.
 
Offer Ortiz what you think will be a fair contract for his age 39 season, a year in advance. Assuming you are offering a fair market value deal, he shouldn't have any reason to reject your offer and leave for another team. If you have to significantly overpay compared to what you think he is worth, then let another team take on that burden when the time comes.
 
What Ortiz was worth on the field the past 3 seasons, in comparison with what he earned, shouldn't be a factor.  
 
Edit: just saw your edit, and I don't think Papi's recent play makes a significant overpay in the future "easier to swallow", at least from the perspective of the front office. Future budgets are independent on what happened in the past, and you need to make the best decision you can at the time you are making it.  10M of dead money (assuming thats 10M after whatever you've allocated for performance and "intangibles") in 2015 affects the team pretty much the same way if its paid to David Ortiz, or some other underachieving FA.