COMMENTARY | Designated hitter David Ortiz is one of the most productive and popular players in the history of the Boston Red Sox.
In 11 seasons with the team, he has contributed to three World Series championships and established himself as a possible future Hall of Famer.
As the 38-year-old enters the final year of his current two-year contract, which is worth up to $30 million, he is looking for an extension that will keep him in Boston for the foreseeable future, according to ESPN Boston's Gordon Edes.
Although Ortiz is an anchor of Boston's lineup and is still extremely productive, will he and the team be able to come to an agreement that will keep him in a Red Sox uniform for the remainder of his career?
After spending the first six seasons of his major league career with the Minnesota Twins, Ortiz joined the Red Sox prior to the 2003 season. He blossomed into a star with his new team, posting enormous numbers and playing a major role on the 2004, 2007 and 2013 teams that won the World Series.
During his career, the left-handed slugger has combined to hit .287 with 431 home runs, 1,429 RBIs and 2,023 hits in 1,969 games.
Most recently, he hit .309 with 30 home runs and 103 RBIs last season, winning the World Series MVP and solidifying himself as an inspirational figure to the city of Boston in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing.
Despite being signed through the upcoming season, he has an eye on his future. He recently appeared via satellite on the Boston CBS4 WBZ-TV "Sports Final" show with station sports anchor and reporter Steve Burton, who asked him if he would like to retire with Boston. Ortiz responded, "As long as they keep offering me a job and I keep doing what I'm supposed to do and the relationship keeps on building up, I'm going to be there. Hopefully, I won't have to go and wear another uniform."
When queried if he could see himself ever leaving Boston and wearing a different uniform, Ortiz replied, "I haven't seen it but if I have to, I've got no choice, I'm not going to quit. As long as I keep hitting the ball the way I have, I've got to keep on giving it a try."
Ortiz, widely known as "Big Papi," is one of those rare players who are so popular that fans come to identify them without even having to utter their entire name. No matter how his career ends, he is already engrained in the fabric of the Red Sox organization and city of Boston, much like past players such as "Teddy Ballgame" (Ted Williams), "Yaz," (Carl Yastrzemski), and "Nomar" (Nomar Garciaparra).
There's no telling at this point exactly what the Red Sox and Ortiz want from each other. However, a suggestion might be a contract extension similar to the one first baseman Mike Napoli signed this offseason, amounting to two years and $32 million. Such a deal would give the designated hitter a raise in annual salary and keep him in a Boston uniform at least through his age-40 season. It would also keep in line with the team's recent tendency to not give out monster contracts.
The Red Sox and Ortiz have been very good for each other over the years. It's hard to believe something won't be ultimately worked out that will be mutually beneficial and allow him to finish his career with the team. It may just take a little time to figure it all out.
Although money largely drives the business of professional sports, there's still something to be said about a player retiring with the team with which he made his mark. Hopefully that's something Ortiz will be able to do with the Red Sox.Statistics obtained from Baseball-Reference.com.
In addition to the Yahoo Contributor Network, Andrew Martin has written extensively for Bleacher Report and a number of print publications and websites on the topics of history and sports (particularly the Boston Red Sox and the New England Patriots). He also produces his own blog and has appeared on various sports talk shows and podcasts.
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