After a lot of back and forth and debating over money, the Red Sox and David Ortiz have finally settled on a one-year deal worth $14.575 million to avoid arbitration. This was a midpoint between what the two sides had submitted into the arbitration hearing. There had been a struggle all offseason on finding a middle ground between the two sides, but on the morning of the hearing, an agreement was reached.
Ortiz, 36, had a great year as the Red Sox designated hitter in 2011, posting a .405 wOBA and a 153 wRC+, his best in each of those categories since 2007. For a guy who is supposed to be aging, he is still hitting for average and getting on base, and was one of the few Red Sox guys to stay healthy for most of last season.
Maybe eight figures is a lot to give to just a DH, but Big Papi has proven to be an elite one, even at his age. Even though the Sox collapsed last September and failed to make the playoffs, it wasn’t their hitting that failed them, but their starting pitching’s inability to stay healthy and put together quality starts. Boston scored the most runs in the majors in 2011 and Ortiz was a big part of that.
Even though he’ll be 37 in November, I still expect him to have a nice year. I don’t think there’s much of a chance that he’ll repeat the above numbers, but he’ll still be a force in the middle of that lineup. Bill James has him hitting .277/.378/.517 with 30 homers and a .381 wOBA. If he puts up those kind of numbers, he’ll be well worth the money.
Despite not making the postseason last year, the Sox are still a very dangerous club. They have arguably the best lineup in the bigs, a great front end of the rotation, and a revamped bullpe,n so they can easily make another run at the American League East title.