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David Ortiz isn't technically a free agent yet, and Boston wants to lock him up before he is.
On Sunday, Nick Cafardo reported on what kind of terms the Boston Red Sox might be able to lock David Ortiz up for. They sound reasonable enough, given the flexibility that the Red Sox have, combined with the need for Ortiz's patience and power in the middle of the lineup:
David Ortiz, DH, Red Sox - Word is, he might accept a two-year deal for $26 million-$28 million if offered. The sides are talking and hope to have a deal before free agency. But if the Sox can't go two years, Ortiz may very well roll the dice and see if the Orioles, Yankees, Blue Jays, or Rangers bite. The Yankees are trying to get younger, so they may not be interested, but . . . Ortiz at Yankee Stadium?
The first part of this is important, with Cafardo saying those important figures. The second part sounds more like guesswork -- albeit educated guesswork -- with Cafardo explaining where else Ortiz could land if Boston doesn't give him a deal. The Orioles sound realistic enough -- the O's could use another major hitter, and it's likely Dan Duquette would like Ortiz. The Blue Jays have been rumored as a possibility before, but it's hard to see the Red Sox let a second year get in the way of Ortiz leaving for Toronto now that they aren't working with very little in the way of off-season spending money.
The Rangers would likely find another way to add to their lineup, and they have been a club that likes flexibility at designated hitter as well. The same goes for the Yankees, who Cafardo also mentions are trying to get younger. Throw in that Alex Rodriguez is owed another $114 million over the next five years, and will be 37 next year, and they've already got a player who might need the DH slot on the roster. Combine that with the fact New York likes to use the DH to rest their regulars, and Ortiz just seems like an odd fit for them as currently constructed, powerful as he is.
As it's been, the only realistic landing place for Ortiz remains the Red Sox. Other teams like the O's and Jays might give him a call if he even gets to free agency, but the chances of him taking off for one of those locales without checking back in with the Sox -- and for an offer they would refuse -- seems unlikely. With the other missing pieces in the lineup, and those who remain lacking a bit in the patience department, Ortiz is a necessary component until he stops producing. The Red Sox know this, and it's why they, as Cafardo reports, are hoping to lock Ortiz up before free agency even begins.