It’s hard to keep track of how many times David Ortiz has threatened to leave the Red Sox if his contract demands aren’t met. But it has happened again.
In an interview that aired Sunday on WBZ in Boston, Ortiz suggested it would be “time to move on” if he did not get a multi-year deal.
“If I have to. If I have no choice. I’m not going to quit,” he said.
Ortiz, 38, is entering the final season of a two-year deal and will make $15 million in 2014. He hit .309 with 30 home runs and 103 RBIs last season before a stellar playoff run capped by his being named Most Valuable Player of the World Series.
Ortiz hit .353 with a 1.206 OPS in 16 postseason games. He had five home runs, 13 RBIs and walked 16 times.
Ortiz first started talking about a new contract in December. He said at the time he was pleased with his relationship with the team, a point he repeated two weeks ago. Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington has said repeatedly that the team would like Ortiz to retire as a member of the Red Sox.
“I’m feeling good,” Ortiz said when asked by WBZ’s Steve Burton how long he would like to keep playing. “This is not a career that is forever, but as long as I’m having fun like I had and as long as I keep on doing what I’m doing, and as long as I’m healthy, of course, I’m going to keep on giving it a try. It could be two years, it could be three years, it could be 10 years, you never know.”
Ortiz also said he would prefer to stay in Boston.
“I would like to. I would like to. I’m having fun. It’s been a hell of a ride as long as I’ve been here,” he said.
“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 then the relationship keeps on building up, I’m going to be there. Hopefully, I won’t have to go and wear another uniform.”
The reality is that Ortiz has more value to the Red Sox than other teams and limited options should he become a free agent. The Red Sox are one of the dwindling number of clubs that employ a full-time designated hitter. A 39-year-old DH would seem unlikely to land a multi-year contract.
The Yankees, because of their financial might, are a possibility. But with players like Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, Carlos Beltran, and Brian McCann on the roster, a DH would not be a priority.
Eleven years of success and three World Series titles gives Ortiz sentimental value in Boston that he would not find elsewhere. The two-year, $30 million deal he agreed to before last season was considered well above the market rate.
Ortiz has a close relation with team owner John Henry. Any decision about his future with the Red Sox would be directed from the ownership level.
Ortiz, who is doing promotional work for a pet food company, conducted the interview with a small dog on his lap.