NEW YORK — General manager Ben Cherington said Wednesday that retaining David Ortiz is “a priority” as the Red Sox enter what is sure to be a busy offseason.
Ortiz will be become a free agent after the World Series if the Sox are unable to reach agreement in a new contract with their long-time designated hitter.
“David is someone that we feel strongly about bringing back,” Cherington said. “We’re trying to figure out a way to do that. We hope that happens.”
Ortiz accepted arbitration last season then settled with the team on a one-year deal worth $14.575 million. He has complained about the deal since, feeling he deserved multiple seasons.
“I want to stay and I hope I stay,” Ortiz said. “But fair is fair. I think I have proven myself in Boston. What do you think?”
Ortiz said the sides spoke during the season then tabled discussions. Those could start again soon.
Ortiz hit .318 with a 1.026 OPS this season, hitting 23 home runs and driving in 60 runs over 90 games. He suffered a strained right Achilles’ tendon on July 16 and played only one other game before the season ended.
The injury, Ortiz said, should be fully healed by the end of the month.
Ortiz turns 37 in November but remains a potent hitter. He also has become the face of the franchise in many ways and is a favorite of owner John Henry.
Cherington also said the Sox have started talks with outfielder Cody Ross.
Signed to a one-year, $3 million deal in January, Ross has been one of the best bargains in baseball. He hit .267 with 22 homers and 81 RBIs over 130 games.
Only Dustin Pedroia and Mike Aviles played more games this season.
Ross, who turns 32 in December, has said he is open to staying in Boston and enjoyed playing for the Sox despite the painful season. Like Ortiz, he is seeking a multi-year deal.
“We’re trying to get on the same page,” Ross said. “I love playing here. I love the park. I love the fans. I love the city. Definitely, it’s a perfect place for me.”