Fresh off a spectacular 2013 season in which he reached 2,000 career hits, slugged 30 home runs and batted nearly .700 in helping the Red Sox win the World Series, designated hitter David Ortiz said this week that he is hopeful that he and the club will agree to extend his contract through the 2015 season.
“We are talking,” he said. “I don’t think there’s going to be any complication. I just want to get one more year extension. . . . My agents and the front office, they’ve been talking, and I think at some point we are going to get it done.”
The 38-year-old Ortiz has one year left on the two-year, $26 million contract he signed after the 2012 season. He has been with Boston since 2003 and helped lead them to three World Series titles, including last October's six-game triumph over the Cardinals that capped Boston's worst-to-first season.
Ortiz recently returned to the U.S. from his native Dominican Republic, where he has been preparing for the upcoming season. He appeared at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah, where he made promotional appearances on behalf of dog-food company Pedigree, which is donating food to shelters for every video shared on Facebook with the hashtag #dogtales. Ortiz has two dogs, named Happy and Foxxy.
“Man’s best friend -- remember that,” he said, while chiding this reporter for not having a dog. “Let me tell you, it doesn’t matter how my day goes, once I get home, they are always happy waiting for me. That’s a game-changer right there.”
Here are some of Ortiz’s other thoughts on baseball news from the winter:
• On Boston’s offseason: “It seems like we haven’t done too much, you know what I’m saying? We let a couple of key players go somewhere else, and we got A.J. Pierzynski, who’s one of my ex-teammates with Minnesota. He’s a really good player, and he’s going to help us out a lot. He’s really good at calling games, and he’s really good at hitting. That will replace [Jarrod] Saltalamacchia.
“But I haven’t heard about any moves in the outfield. I think we’re going to try that kid, Jackie Bradley. We’ll see. Hopefully he comes in this year and impresses everybody like he did last year, but [stays] consistent through the season. He’s got a great future. He’s a kid with a lot of talent and he’s down to learn. He always has questions. And I think there’s a couple spots that we need to cover up and once that’s done, spring training is going to be around the corner, so we are just getting ready for that.”
• On Frank Thomas, who played more games at designated hitter than anywhere else, being elected to the Hall of Fame and how that affects Ortiz’s own enshrinement chances: “The Big Hurt! My man. I was proud and happy to see him go into the Hall of Fame. This is a guy who has a clean history. Nobody pointed a finger, and he did nothing but get the job done while he played. He deserves it, and hopefully that opens up minds of the voters and get to know that it doesn’t matter what position you play or where you’re at, as long as you produce and win ballgames and get things done.”
• On Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw’s seven-year, $215-million deal: “No person better than him to get that contract.” • On second baseman Robinson Cano signing with the Mariners for 10 years and $240 million: “I saw Cano, my boy Cano, got that deal done -- very well deserved.”