BOSTON – David Ortiz got what he wanted a lot easier than he ever expected.
Ortiz, the face of the Red Sox since helping Boston end an 86-year World Series drought in 2004, finalized a $26 million, two-year contract on Monday, a deal that could be worth up to $30 million if he avoids another significant Achilles tendon injury next year.
The soon-to-be 37-year old had expressed his preference for a two-year deal the past two seasons. The club decided that keeping him and agreeing to his desire was a good first move this offseason.
“I don’t think there was any doubt,” he said during a Fenway Park news conference. “They approached me this year and our negotiation this year was easier than ever. They know what they were looking for. There wasn’t even ever a back and forth situation. It was pretty much: ‘This is it and let’s agree with it.’ They know the pieces they need to put together to be successful this year.”
Ortiz gets a $1 million signing bonus payable on Jan. 15 and salaries of $14 million next season and $11 million in 2014.
His 2014 salary would increase to $15 million if he has 20 or fewer days on the disabled list next season caused by an Achilles tendon injury — such as the one that limited him to one game after July 16 this year. If he has 21-40 days on the DL next year caused by an Achilles injury, his 2014 salary would go up to $13 million. The 2014 salary would not escalate if he has 41 days or more on the DL next year caused by an Achilles injury.
“After the season we identified a lot of things we wanted to do this offseason,” General Manager Ben Cherington said. Sitting at a table with Cherington, one couldn’t miss the World Series rings that Ortiz was wearing from 2004 and 2007.
Now, he’d like to help the team build from a last-place finish and 69-93 record, Boston’s poorest since 1966.