David Ortiz Primed to Anchor Middle of Boston's Lineup Despite Injury-Plagued Ending to Last SeasonEditor's note: Didier Morais will review each position for the Red Sox for the 2013 season.

Contract negotiations are ongoing to bring David Ortiz back to Boston.

After playing on one-year deals for two consecutive seasons, the designated hitter is seeking a two-year contract with the Red Sox this offseason with the intent of finishing his career in Boston.

But the 2012 season certainly exemplifies Ortiz's unique situation.

On one hand, he showed there was enough gas in the tank at 36, whacking 23 home runs and 60 RBIs while hitting .318. On the other hand, Ortiz only played 90 games after an Achilles injury prematurely ended his season.

The setback could be a byproduct of the slugger's age. Given his contributions to the organization and sizzling first three months last year, the Red Sox are likely to ink Ortiz to return as their designated hitter.

After all, they received little to nothing from the DH position when Ortiz was sidelined. The combination of Mauro Gomez, Daniel Nava, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, etc. at DH failed to scratch the surface of Ortiz's production.

Heading into next season, however, Ortiz should be raring to go. Shortly after the season ended, the 36-year-old underwent shockwave therapy to ensure that all his Achilles woes would be eradicated.

If the Red Sox need more depth at the position, they may have an alternative in Gomez. The International League MVP — who could be vying for the first base job — showed raw power in his limited at-bats for Boston, hitting two homers and 17 RBIs. 

Should the Red Sox choose to retain both Saltalamacchia and catcher Ryan Lavarnway on the roster, either one could be a secondary option to fill in for Ortiz at DH when necessary.

But at the end of the day, Ortiz is one of the scarce full-time designated hitters in the majors. That experience — along with his leadership in the clubhouse — is likely to result in another year in the meat of Boston's lineup.

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