David Ortiz undecided on arbitration

Updated: December 3, 2011, 8:08 PM ET
ESPNBoston.com

It looks as if Bobby Valentine's first act as manager of the Boston Red Sox is to recruit free-agent designated hitter David Ortiz.

Valentine headed to the Dominican Republic to meet with Ortiz, who was hosting a charity golf tournament there this weekend. The 36-year-old Ortiz has repeatedly expressed a desire to remain in Boston, and the Red Sox last week offered him arbitration.

[+] EnlargeDavid Ortiz
AP Photo/Chaz Niell Picture Group"I wouldn't miss it. I was able to catch a flight and come on down," Bobby Valentine said of meeting David Ortiz. "We'll have a little fun tonight, say hello and tell him how much I love him as a player."

"That speaks to me," Ortiz told The Boston Globe on Friday about meeting with Valentine, tapping his heart with his fist. "I'm impressed. That's good stuff."

Valentine reportedly did not come with a contract offer.

"I wouldn't miss it. I was able to catch a flight and come on down," Valentine said, according to the paper. "We'll have a little fun tonight, say hello and tell him how much I love him as a player."

Ortiz told the Globe and the Boston Herald in the Dominican Republic on Friday that he has not yet decided whether to accept the offer of arbitration, which essentially translates to a one-year contract for a higher salary than the $12.5 million he made last season. Ortiz, who has been seeking a multiyear deal, has until Dec. 7 to decide.

"It's something that I've got to sit down and talk to my agent about," Ortiz told the Herald. "We haven't made a decision yet. But it's going to come down to something this week."

Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington and Ortiz's agent, Fern Cuza, are scheduled to meet at baseball's winter meetings early next week in Dallas.

"We offered him arbitration and that's significant because he has a decision to make on that on Wednesday if we don't reach an agreement before then," Cherington said Thursday. "We had continued good dialogue."

Under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement, clubs retain the right to negotiate and/or enter into a contract agreement with any of their free agents, regardless of whether arbitration was offered. There are no deadlines for such negotiations or agreements.

If Ortiz, a Type A free agent, were to sign a deal elsewhere, the Red Sox would receive two draft picks as compensation. That scenario could give other teams pause about signing the designated hitter and having to yield a first-round pick.

Ortiz hit .309 with 29 homers and 96 RBIs in 2011, his ninth season with the Red Sox.

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