Oh, come on now, when old number 34 goes up on the right field façade at Fenway Park within the next 10 years, are you seriously going to remember David Ortiz negotiating extensions of his contracts with the Boston Red Sox? Of course not.
It is indeed a contract year for the designated hitter. The only crime committed by the popular slugger is his open desire to get paid lots of money.
Ortiz is not looking at a five-year deal for $80 million that would put the Red Sox in a bind for the future. It is not even clear that he wants anything more than a two-year deal roughly in the neighborhood of what he is making now. He simply wants to get paid what he thinks he is worth.
Look, the weather here in New England is awful. It is cold and snow blankets anything and everything.
The Red Sox are getting set for Spring Training down in sunny Fort Myers and—unless you are hopelessly addicted to the Stephen Drew saga or Jake Peavy cutting his finger—there is absolutely nothing truly newsworthy to talk about. The extensions that are coming Ortiz and Jon Lester’s way are a question of when, not if.
When you have played as long as Ortiz has, you need to find new ways to fire up before the rigors of yet another camp. Infield, bunting drills and wind sprints are as exciting for grizzled veterans as taking your eight-year-old to Subway instead of McDonald’s for lunch. Although the players are not going to openly whine about sprinting like the kid will in getting a turkey sandwich over a Happy Meal, on the inside, the feelings are similar.
If Ortiz needs to manufacture an “us against them” attitude in order to prepare for the long grind of the season, so be it. Seriously, you think he is not going to be ready once the team heads north at the end of March?
For the Red Sox press corps, they have already watched their fill of bullpen sessions and stretching. As position players continue to trickle in from the short offseason, the bored press is going to ask questions they know are going to draw answers.
Asking Ortiz to clarify his comments about his desires is going to draw more eyeballs than dissecting which of the endless parade of pitchers Boston has brought in to audition for a couple of bullpen spots. Remember, we still are 10 days away from the first Grapefruit League games. We can only talk about who should be leading off for the team so much until, you know, we actually see some live pitching.
As long as Ortiz remains productive, the Red Sox will let him come into camp with a chip on his shoulder and then hammer things out.
Is it frustrating to see Ortiz continuously equate money with respect? Maybe, but he certainly is not the only pro athlete who feels that way *cough*Robinson Cano*cough*.
In a month, no one will care. Of course, by then, we are going to be a week from the regular season.
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