Boston Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington on Thursday said the “door will be open” for contract talks between the club and designated hitter David Ortiz through the course of spring training and even into the season.
The 38-year-old Ortiz, who will make $15 million in the final year of his contract in 2014, said last month that he had been in touch with the Red Sox to express his desire for a new deal that goes beyond this season.
“It’s important to me, it’s important to ownership, important to the organization to have open dialogue with our key players,” Cherington said in an interview on Boston sports radio station WEEI. “And David is certainly one of those. We’ve talked this winter.”
Ortiz is coming off a playoff run in which he hit .353 and had five homers and 13 RBIs en route to being named World Series MVP.
"Maybe I'll play another year or two more years,” Ortiz said in December at his charity golf tournament in the Dominican Republic. “I'm at a stage where I'll play depending on how I feel physically.”
He is the only person to have played on all three of the Red Sox’s championship teams in the past decade and is unquestionably the most popular guy in Red Sox Nation. Previous contract negotiations have not gone smoothly, with the sides nearly going to an arbitration hearing in 2012. He signed a two-year deal before the 2013 season.
“Look, David is a really important player on a number of levels. Obviously, what he does on the field, what he means to the team, his place in the city, all those things. He’s not just any baseball player,” Cherington said. “When someone like that expresses their strong interest in staying in the organization, we mostly take that as a good thing. That’s a lot better than the alternative. We welcome that interest. So yeah, there will be dialogue. We’ll just have to see what that turns into.
"Our position hasn’t changed when it comes to David. It has been for some time, and expect it will continue to be, that we want him to finish his career with the Red Sox and want to do that in a way that’s right for him, that’s right for us, that fits his career and fits the type of player that he is."