Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz has proven why he is a force to be reckoned with after another productive season in his 16th year in Major League Baseball. Since Ortiz has been so successful in recent years, the Red Sox provided a $4 million incentive in his contract.
Ortiz signed a two-year, $26 million deal this past off-season in which he will get paid $14 million in 2013 and $11 million in 2014, plus the $1 million signing bonus he already received. However, the Red Sox also inserted a clause in his contract that could pay him up to an additional $4 million in 2014 if he spends less than 20 days on the disabled list with his nagging Achilles injury.
The 37-year-old was forced to miss the rest of the season after suffering an injury to his Achilles heel. He finished the 2012 season with a .318 batting average, 23 home runs, 56 RBI and 26 doubles in 324 at-bats over 90 games. The pace he had set for himself was an impressive one at that, especially considering his age.
Since Ortiz was unable to suit up for 72 games because of the injury last year, Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington decided it would be wise to motivate the slugger this off-season to get healthy. Obviously, Ortiz will not be able to control everything that happens to him on the diamond, but at least this way he can better prepare himself and has four million reasons to get his Achilles as strong as possible.
“As with any player, you’ve got to get to the bottom of the health and figure out the risk involved,” Cherington explained to ESPN Boston back in November. “Our benefit is we know David so well and we know how hard he’s going to work to put himself in the best position to play and be healthy.”
In Cherington’s mind, Ortiz is worth more than what they are paying him over the next two years considering how much of an asset he is to the offensive production of the team. The fact that he is still playing at a high level at the age of 37 is very impressive, but it also has fans worried that Boston could be paying too much for a player that might not be able to stay healthy an entire season no matter how hard he tries.
Regardless, if Cherington believes Ortiz should be getting paid more than the $26 million over two years then this is his way of showing it without having to guarantee the extra $4 million. The clause also could have been a reason why Ortiz did not sign with another team in free agency despite probably getting offered more money to do so.