As the designated hitter entered the free agent market after last season — at age 35 no less — he watched the Red Sox evolve. The team was turning the page, hiring Ben Cherington and Bobby Valentine as the general manager and skipper, respectively.
Meanwhile, Ortiz barely heard a peep from management or owner John Henry. The silence had the slugger pondering his next move.
“At one point, I thought I was done here,” Ortiz said. “But, like I say, our front office, they got caught into a lot of things this offseason. At one point, I was like, ‘OK, I guess I’m not a priority to here.’ That’s the way it looked like to me at one point.”
Ortiz ultimately accepted arbitration in December. Then, just hours before the scheduled hearing on Feb. 13, the Red Sox and the veteran agreed on a one-year, $14.575 million deal to avoid an appearance before a judge.
Although the process never advanced to court, Ortiz said he learned about the business side of the arbitration game –– including what not to wear during a session.
“They told me not to wear my earrings in front of the judge,” Ortiz said. “I was like, ‘Did I kill someone or something? What did I do that I’m not allowed to wear them in front of a judge?’ They were like, ‘You don’t want to have that much bling bling.”
But his eventual payday didn’t end in perfect harmony. After nine seasons in Boston, Ortiz was eyeing a multiyear contract this offseason, but said the Red Sox’s two-year offer was “out of our range.”
As the highest paid designated hitter in baseball history, Ortiz maintained that he was satisfied with another one-year leash.
“That ain’t for everybody,” Ortiz said of the short deal. “I tried my best to sign for the next few years. It didn’t work out. But I’m happy with what I got. I’m not going to lie to you. I’m happy with it. I want to get over it. I’m back, I’m here, at least for another year. Like I always tell you guys, I’m going to try my best.”
Powered by WordPress.com VIP