David Ortiz To Accept Arbitration With Red Sox

Dustin Pedroia of the Boston Red Sox celebrates with David Ortiz after hitting a solo home run against the Baltimore Orioles during the fifth inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Update, 5:35 pm: Or not. Well, not yet, anyway.

Update, 10:47 pm: The official-not official roller coaster has stopped once again at official, courtesy of Gordon Edes. David Ortiz has accepted arbitration.


The Red Sox met with David Ortiz's agent at the winter meetings tonight, and, according to Enrique Rojas and Jon Heyman, the result will be that Ortiz will accept arbitration with the team today.

The two sides couldn't agree on how much money a two-year deal should entail -- Ortiz was looking for $25 million over two, while Boston's two-year, $18 million offer showed they would pay less in exchange for Ortiz's security. This led to Ortiz taking arbitration, as it guarantees him a job regardless of whether he and Boston can come to terms on a multi-year deal before the season starts. As a bonus, it will likely bring a raise of $2 million or so on his 2011 salary of $12.5 million.

Ortiz hit .309/.398/.554 with the Red Sox in 2011, for a 154 OPS+ that sits with the most productive seasons ever by a DH at that age. None of the other players on that list received long-term deals either -- not even Edgar Martinez -- so it's not a surprise that Ortiz was left waiting, as well.

This means Ortiz will be a free agent again in one year, and will try to navigate free agency under the rules of the new collective bargaining agreement. Things will be basically the same for him, though, as a qualifying offer of $12.4 million will be required from the Red Sox in order to receive a draft pick from a new team -- less than he will make in 2012 -- once again making it difficult for someone else to sign him easily.

As for the Red Sox' off-season plans, money to Ortiz likely means that the lineup is mostly set, barring trades or complementary pieces for the bench (such as a right-handed bat for the outfield). The rotation and bullpen remain on the wish list, but until the C.J. Wilson's and Mark Buehrle's of the world start to sign, signaling to others that it's okay to get moving on the winter, we likely won't know whether Boston is going to focus on the bullpen or the rotation through free agency and trades.

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