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David Ortiz, Red Sox Settle Halfway, Avoid Arbitration

According to Buster Olney, the Red Sox and David Ortiz agreed on the midpoint this morning, avoiding the arbitration hearing scheduled for later this afternoon. This means Ortiz will get his raise on his 2011 salary, but not to the degree he was searching for. Boston will pay him $14.575 million in 2012.

Ortiz had filed for arbitration at $16.5 million after he and the Red Sox were unable to come to a deal in December. That figure marked a significant raise from last year's $12.5 million base salary, and just as far from the Red Sox' $12.65 million filing. Ortiz stood to make the most ever in an arbitration hearing, regardless of which side won, according to Maury Brown of Biz of Baseball:

The highest amount ever awarded in a hearing is $10 million (Howard won his case in 2007, while Francisco Rodriguez with the Brewers in 2007 and Alfonso Soriano with the Nationals in 2005 lost their cases). Win or lose, Ortiz smashes that number due to his long-tenure.

Both sides will avoid that, as Ortiz, like so many others who filed for a high figure prior to arbitration, settled away from the judge. The amount he'll take home is high, but now it isn't record-breaking as far as arbitration goes. It is, however, the highest salary ever for a designated hitter in a single season in terms of average annual value, passing Travis Hafner's current contract. This also means the Red Sox can continue their decade-long streak of avoiding arbitration -- the last arbitration case that went in front of a judge was that of Rolando Arrojo in 2002.

One wonders if the $2 million put aside in case of an arbitration loss could now be dangled in front of the still-wavering Roy Oswalt.