The $12.5 million the Red Sox are going to pay David Ortiz is technically a "club option," but in reality, Boston didn’t really have a choice. This was a no-brainer.
For the numbers that Ortiz consistently produces, the Red Sox will be paying him well below market value. In 2010, Big Papi finished in the top 10 in the AL in home runs (fifth), RBIs (10th), OPS (eighth) and walks (ninth). He was also third in the league in pitches per plate appearance, a stat any opposing pitcher is wary of.
The fact that the contract is for one year only is vital for a player like Ortiz, who will be 35 next season and isn't the most nimble player to begin with. That said, Ortiz hasn't exhibited a tremendous drop in production as he's crept into his mid-30s — other than a down year in 2009, where he still hit 28 home runs — Ortiz's OPS has been at least .876 every season since he arrived in Boston in 2003.
Ortiz had a 2010 season comparable to, or possibly better than, several sluggers who will earn a much larger salary in 2011. Mark Texieira and Ryan Howard, for instance, will each be making at least $20 million next year. Ortiz was arguably as productive as both players this year, and you'd have to think he'll continue to put up solid numbers next season.
There are a couple of other things to consider about Ortiz's upcoming season, and why it should be another great one for the big slugger. For one, it will be a true contract year, something Red Sox Nation has recently seen (via Adrian Beltre) do wonders for a players' statistics.
Secondly — to shine a good light on an otherwise dismal 2010 Red Sox season — Boston's inability to make the playoffs means that the aging Ortiz got an extra week or possibly even a month more to rest this offseason.
But most importantly, the Red Sox are going to enter the 2011 season as hungry as they've ever been before, and Ortiz, who has been through it all during his time in Boston, will be right in the middle of yet another power-packed lineup that should score a whole lot of runs. And for a little over 12 million bucks, you can't ask for much more from the biggest fan favorite in a great baseball city.
Do you think the Red Sox are getting a steal by only having to pay David Ortiz $12.5 million in 2011? Leave your thoughts below.