After a horrendous season that saw the Boston Red Sox log a record of 69-93, you can hardly fault the team for wanting to get an early start on the 2012-2013 offseason.
However, for the most part the focus has been on hiring the next manager of the franchise. The Red Sox want to get the replacement for Bobby Valentine in place before the onset of free agency. The team has interviewed Tim Wallach, Brad Ausmus, DeMarlo Hale, and Tony Pena for the position, but is said to be after a bigger fish; acquiring manager John Farrell from the Blue Jays to hold the same position in Boston.
Needless to say, there is change coming to Boston in 2013. Still, the team will need some continuity, something that Farrell will certainly want when he comes aboard, thanks to his familiarity with the team.
An extension with Ortiz is almost a no-brainer for the Red Sox. After gutting the roster in August, Boston will need a hitter in the middle of the line-up that inspires more fear in opposing pitchers than Dustin Pedroia. After a season where he hit .318 with 23 home runs, 60 RBI, and a 1.026 OPS in just 90 games played.
However, outside of a single game in August, Ortiz missed the last two and a half months of the season with an Achilles injury that required treatment after the season. Ortiz is said to be looking for a 2-year deal worth between $25 and $30 million. That's certainly a risk for a 36-year-old designated hitter coming off of a significant injury. Still, Ortiz has shown that he has put the work in during the offseason both of the last two seasons to get back to being a dangerous, middle of the order hitter and the Red Sox have the financial flexibility to take the risk, especially in a barren market.
Cody Ross was a great fit in Boston during his first season in 2012. The outfielder hit .267 with 22 home runs, 81 RBI, and a .807 OPS. Moreover, Ross reminder fans of the Dirt Dogs of old, harkening back to the gritty days of Kevin Millar and Trot Nixon. The 31-year-old Ross earned $3 million in his one-year with the Red Sox and he will likely be looking for a sizable raise and a multi-year contract to seal any extension. A two-year deal will likely be all that Boston is willing to go, especially with the likes of Jackie Bradley and Bryce Brentz climbing the ladder in the minors.
The Red Sox could easily say that they are fully committed to rebuilding and opt not to make either move, but neither one would be a huge risk financially or contractually if held to a two-year limit. They can still continue to build from within and in the meantime, keep a couple of fan favorites around to stay somewhat competitive in 2013.
Kyle Fragnoli is a lifelong Red Sox fan living in Vermont with his wife and twin sons. When not writing for the Yahoo Contributor Network, you can find him on Twitter (@bballbigbrother), The Baseball Big Brother Project, or Call to the Pen.
David Ortiz Talks Contract, bostonherald.com
David Ortiz/Cody Ross up First, bostonherald.com
Cody Ross, baseball-reference.com
David Ortiz, baseball-reference.com
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