David Ortiz signed the extension, I assume, he was looking for. Hopefully this means everyone can stop complaining and whining every time he mentions that he would like an extension.
I’ve always been baffled when people are outraged that players want extensions. Wouldn’t almost everyone prefer to know that they have a job for as long as possible? OK, maybe not Papelbon. But many poeple would like to know that they are going to be employed. Especially older players who might not be so attractive to a free agent market. So, it makes sense that they should want to have their contract extended if they can.
That’s what Ortiz has done.
While it’s not quite the Tim Wakefield perpetual option contract, it does make it a probability that Ortiz will be in a Red Sox uniform until he retires. It guarantees that he’ll be on the Sox in 2016. It makes it likely he’ll be here in 2016. It even makes it possible that he’ll be in town in 2017.
I like it.
Now, like the Wakefield deal, this really assumes that both Ortiz and the Red Sox are on the same page. 2014 has always been set, and that’s just fine. I’m willing to assume that 2015 is going to be OK. Sure, it’s a risk to sign him for an extra year. I think it’s a risk worth taking. If he old, or terrible, or ineffective in 2015, that’s one year that the Sox will overpay him. For all the years he’s been severely underpaid, I think that reasonable.
The problem comes with the plate appearances in 2015. What if he’s terrible, but still the starting DH? How will those plate appearances come into play? Will it be tough to play him in September if he’s obviously lost it? Will that create more problems? That was the tricky part with Wake. He always considered it a lifetime contract. But, in the end, I think would have preferred another year or two of life. This is setting up for the same grey area with Ortiz in a couple years.
Hopefully that will be an obvious call. Either he’s still producing, so it’ll be great to let that option become vesting. And, hopefully he’ll make the Sox want to quickly pick up the option for 2017. Or, he’ll play to a level that it’s obvious to both sides that he’ll end it there.
But, that’s a couple years out. Right now, the Sox have their DH and face of the franchise for two more years. I have a hard time seeing a downside. They have Ortiz’s bat in the middle of the order for two more years. If they can use it, they have it for two more after that. Unlike other long term contracts, the risk is all in the first two years. Those are the ones you should feel the most comfortable about.
Hopefully those are the ones that will lead to two more rings.