According to a source close to negotiations, the sides are "very close" on a two-year deal. The amount of the contract still is being discussed.
If the sides can't come to an agreement before midnight Friday, Ortiz is free to negotiate with other teams. There undoubtedly will be interest in the veteran slugger. He has until Nov. 9 to accept the qualifying offer, which is less than the $14.58 million he earned in 2012. If Ortiz signs with another team, the qualifying offer ensures the Red Sox will receive one sandwich-round draft pick as compensation.
Ortiz, an eight-time All-Star who turns 37 on Nov. 18, was on pace for a productive 2012 before he suffered a right Achilles strain July 16. He was limited to only one more game the rest of the season and finished with a .318 average, 23 home runs and 60 RBIs in 90 games.
"David is someone who we feel strongly about bringing back, and we're trying to figure out a way to do that and we hope that happens," Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said earlier this week.