For the past two seasons, the Red Sox have taken a year-to-year approach to the 36-year-old Ortiz, picking up a one-year, $12.5 million team option before the 2011 season and settling on a one-year, $14.575 million contract for 2012. Before both seasons, Ortiz was adamant about preferring a multi-year deal. And in both situations, the Red Sox and Ortiz failed to see eye to eye in that regard.
In the midst of his best season since 2007 and the only All-Star on the Red Sox roster, Ortiz remains bitter about his contract. He told USA Today the process he went through before this season, when he accepted the team's offer of arbitration but didn't settle on a one-year deal until just hours before a hearing was scheduled, left him red-faced.
"It was humiliating. There's no reason a guy like me should go through that," Ortiz told USA Today on Wednesday afternoon in a Spanish-language interview. "All I was looking for was two years, at the same salary ($12.5 million).
"They ended up giving me $3 million more than that (it was actually $2.025 million), and look at my numbers this year. Tell me if they wouldn't have been better off.
"And yet they don't hesitate to sign other guys. It was embarrassing."
Ortiz, who could have entered the open market after last season but instead accepted the team's offer of arbitration, insinuated that if the team takes a similar approach to his free agency at the end of this season, he might have to look elsewhere.
"If you go crazy and give contracts to whoever comes along despite not knowing how they're going to do, then you don't give me my due consideration, even though I do my thing every year, (expletive) that," Ortiz said. "I'm going to be open to anything. My mentality is not going to be, 'I like it here.' It's going to be, 'Bring it to the table, and we'll see what happens.' "
Over the last two offseasons, the Red Sox have given big contracts to Adrian Gonzalez (7 years, $154 million), Carl Crawford (7 years, $142 million), Josh Beckett (4 years, $68 million) and Clay Buchholz (4 years, $29.9 million).