Ortiz says he'll "move on" if he can't negotiate multiyear deal with Sox

Sam Galanis
Contributing Writer

It’s the same threat, but a different year.

David Ortiz has, once again, stated that if the Red Sox don’t offer him a multiyear deal, then it’s “time to move on.”

ESPNBoston.com’s Gordon Edes reported on the comments that the slugger made on Sunday night’s “Sports Final” on Boston’s CBS4. Ortiz has a year left on the two-year extension he signed last winter. He apparently wasn’t happy about the one-year deal that it came from in 2012 and does not want to do that again.

“It can be two years, it can be three years, it can be 10 years,” Ortiz said. “You never know.”

Ortiz also said that he’d like to retire as a member of the Red Sox, but that it would only happen if he gets a deal he likes.

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren
“I'm having fun,” Ortiz said. “It's been a hell of a ride as long as I've been here. But as I always keep on telling people, this is a business. Sometimes you've got to do what's best for you and your family. As long as they keep offering me a job and I keep doing what I'm supposed to do and the relationship keeps on building up, I'm going to be there. Hopefully, I won't have to go and wear another uniform.”

Now, I like David Ortiz. He’s charismatic, charitable, and obviously a great baseball player. He had an amazing 2013. But he’s 38 years old, and quite frankly, I’m sick of the threats to leave. It seems to be his business tactic, but not only does it make him look bad, but it also makes him look, well, stupid.

All baseball players fall off toward the end of their careers at some point, even if it’s just because of an inability to stay healthy rather than stay productive. Cal Ripken, Jr. and Ken Griffey, Jr. both did. Derek Jeter is headed in that direction. And that’s just to name a few. I understand that this is Ortiz’s job and he wants to keep doing it, but he needs to understand why any team would be reluctant to give him too many years.

Ortiz has the advantage of being a career designated hitter. Teams wouldn’t be as wary of signing him as they would of a position player. But signing a guy until he’s over 40? In baseball years, that’s ancient. I can’t imagine that Ortiz doesn’t understand that. He knows what he’s doing. And that’s precisely why comments like the ones he made Sunday make him look terrible, especially when he’s still signed through 2014.

As GM Ben Cherington said, this isn’t a matter of urgency. They still have time to negotiate with Ortiz, and they have more important things to do. But these comments create tension. No one wants to see Ortiz leave. And he most likely won’t. The Sox will likely give him a two-year deal with bonuses if he stays healthy. But acting like someone else would give him much more is ridiculous, and honestly, unfair to the team and its fans.

Ortiz’s 2013 season proved that he can stay healthy and productive enough to keep giving him a chance. But eventually, he’ll decline. It’ll look better if he just tones it down and trusts that the Sox will keep him in the way that they feel is best.

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