Left-hander Jon Lester has been lauded, ad nauseam, for saying he'd be willing to take a so-called "hometown discount" in order to stay with the Boston Red Sox. (Because the Red Sox are bleeding money? Anyway.)
Slugger David Ortiz sounds like he doesn't want to be taken advantage of by the hometown team. In a TV interview aired in Boston on Sunday night, Ortiz said it would be "time to move on" if the Red Sox didn't offer him a reasonable contract of longer duration than one season. Ortiz, who turned 38 in November, says he doesn't know how long he wants to play — it could be two years, it could be 10. Ortiz just knows he's not willing to take it year to year yet, he told Steve Burton, the sports director of Boston CBS4 and host of "Sports Final."
Via ESPN Boston:
"But as I always keep on telling people, this is a business. Sometimes you've got to do what's best for you and your family.
"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."
Burton then asked what would happen if the team didn't offer him another long-term deal.
"Time to move on," he said.
Could he really envision himself in another uniform?
"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."
More like David OrTEASE, right? The threat to leave Boston is a good ploy. Jacoby Ellsbury took off, didn't he? Hey, even Robinson Cano left the Yankees. Now, some might roll their eyes when hearing stuff like, "Doing what's best for my family." Unofficially, Ortiz has earned at least $112 million playing baseball. He's going to make $15 million in 2014. Not that it's our deep concern, but there's a good chance his family has been taken care of many times over. So perhaps that's not the best way, from a public-relations standpoint, to approach this negotiation.
But if Ortiz says something like, "A fair amount," or "market value," now he's talking a reasonable language. Ortiz is working on a Hall of Fame résumé, and is perhaps the most popular player in Red Sox history since Ted Williams. He should be treated as such, even in his advancing age. If Ortiz doesn't want to worry about one-year contracts, then the Red Sox should accommodate him. It's the cost of doing business when you want the best talent and want more chances to win the World Series. It's unfortunate, and kind of pathetic, that Ortiz should need to remind the Red Sox of this. But hey, if they're going to get off cheap(er) with Lester, Ortiz knows a good place where they can pay the generosity forward.
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