Everyone has something to say about David Ortiz, including the man himself

Sam Galanis
Contributing Writer

For something that didn’t even need to be discussed in the first place, the talk surrounding David Ortiz’s contract has been completely blown out of proportion.

After saying that it would be “time to move on” from the Red Sox if he wasn’t offered a long-term deal, Papi told WEEI’s Rob Bradford Wednesday that he actually only asked for a one-year extension to his current deal, which would mean keeping the slugger through 2015.

“We’re good. We’re good. We talked, they’re talking and I just asked for one year,” Ortiz said, as reported by NESN. “I didn’t ask for anything crazy. It wasn’t like I asked for a five-year deal. It’s a one-year extension I asked for. I’ve got a contract for this year. I was asking for a one-year extension for next year. I think, like I say, I think we had a great season last year and I’m walking into free agency after this season. We had a conversation, they’re outlining what they plan on doing and they’re going to come back to me with their answer at some point. … Everything is going well. We had a great conversation. They are happy about what we talked about. I don’t even know why people are spreading bad rumors.”

Ortiz thinks that all the criticism is unwarranted.

“I heard a comment the other day that came through the news about me saying that I’m going to go somewhere else,” Ortiz said. “People sometimes take the wrong message. I was asked if the Red Sox don’t want to offer me an extension, then what am I going to do? I’m not going to retire. I’ll go somewhere else. Whoever offers me a contract, that’s where I’m going to be.

Jared Wickerham/Getty Images
“It’s not a secret from no one that I want to be part of this organization. This is where I want to play. But it’s a business. You’re not supposed to be mad at no one. You just do what you got to do, you take what they give you and in the worst case, they don’t offer you a contract and you go somewhere else. Those are the exact words I said. I don’t think I said anything wrong. But people always want to make a big deal about things that you say. In my case, as long as I play, as long as I keep on doing what I do, I’m not going to beg nobody for nothing. I think I’ve earned what I’ve asked for. I prove myself every year.”

And Ortiz isn’t the only one who had a response to all of the backlash. Longtime teammate Dustin Pedroia chimed in on WEEI on Tuesday, just a day before Ortiz responded.

“Everyone doubts David,” Pedroia said, as reported by Comcast SportsNet New England. “Everyone thinks, ‘€˜Oh, this is going to be the year that he doesn’t hit 30 home runs and drives in 100. This is going to be it. He’€™s getting older.’€™ The only one who knows when that’€™s going to happen is David, and just by the way he’€™s talking, the way he’€™s working, just his mindset, everything — it’€™s not going to stop.

“I love the fact that he always has that chip on his shoulder that he has to prove people wrong. I love that about him. I love David to death. … In my opinion, whatever he wants — for God’€™s sake, he hit .900 in the World Series, you know what I mean? He’€™s one of the guys that when we walk into spring training, you don’€™t even have to worry about what he’€™s going to do during the year. You know it’€™s already done. All you have to do is press play.”

But perhaps most interestingly, the comments that show just how crazy all of this have gotten come from former NFL cornerback (and briefly MLB outfielder) Deion Sanders. Sanders discussed Ortiz on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Felger & Mazz” Wednesday.

“Why can’t you guys just sign [Ortiz]?” Sanders asked, as reported by NESN.

“We should never question the man until there is something there to question. Never say anything about a man’s age until he shows you he can’t produce. He’s great for the community. He’s great for the team. So, what’s the problem?”

Well, there is no problem, and there never has been. No one ever said that the Red Sox wouldn’t offer Ortiz a longer contract. And Ortiz did in fact make it sound like he was looking for something long-term. Although that may not have been what he meant, it did seem that way. And seeing as how this isn’t the first time Ortiz has made comments to the media about his contract before negotiations with the Sox, it didn’t seem hard to believe.

Is Pedroia right in saying that the Sox should give Ortiz what he wants? Of course they should. Like Pedroia said, he keeps showing that he can produce. But Ortiz shouldn’t expect that young player contract as an older player, so hopefully he means what he said when clarifying his original comments.

Ortiz also shouldn’t expect this process to happen before the Sox brass get everything else straight as well. I don’t know why we’re discussing Ortiz’s contract while the Sox already have him for another year, and while it was probably already a no-brainer that they would extend him. Right now, they need to focus on getting the shortstop and third base situation straight, which involves free agent Stephen Drew and his agent Scott Boras, who is adamant on the shortstop getting top dollar. Negotiating with Ortiz is not a priority, so let’s hope that all the talk surrounding him has settled.

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