David Ortiz, Red Sox Finalizing New Deal

Jared Wickerham

The Red Sox and David Ortiz are close to finalizing a new two-year deal--a move which should come as no surprise given the circumstances.

According to Gordon Edes, the Red Sox are close to signing David Ortiz to a new contract that will keep him with the team for the next two years.

That second year has been the sticking point between the Red Sox and Ortiz for a while now, with the designated hitter wanting the assurance that he would be in Boston beyond the upcoming season and feeling it his due after the production he's provided in recent years and over his whole career. Now it seems like that issue is in the past, with the contract length already having been agreed to, leaving only minor haggling over money left.

Interestingly, this season provided perhaps the best reason for the Sox to want to keep Ortiz to a one-year contract after the big slugger missed the final months of the season with a persistent heel injury. The real catalyst behind their shift, then, is likely more a change in circumstance than anything else. For the next two years, after all, $10 million isn't likely to really make that much of a difference, strange as that may sound. The Sox are not going to be investing in the likes of Greinke and Hamilton, and while they have plenty of holes to fill it's going to be difficult for them to immediately get back up to the high levels of spending they've been at in recent years without going in on overpriced, risky free agents.

Instead, the next two years are more likely to be about experimentation, taking flyers on short-term risks who can pay off big or not at all while waiting for the farm system to finally churn out what looks to be the most impressive crop of young players since Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Jonathan Papelbon, and Hanley Ramirez all came out of the system in a span of three years. With the payroll relatively free until that time, the Sox can afford to risk an unproductive, expensive Ortiz in 2014.

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