CAP CANA, Dominican Republic -- If you think David Ortiz has been consumed with free agency -- worried about whether he'll return to the Red Sox, weighing offers from other teams -- well, you thought wrong.
"I've been involved with this activity," he said Friday in a one-on-one interview with Comcast SportsNet's Jessica Moran, referring to this weekend's charity golf tournament that he's hosting.
"My agent knows I've been so busy with putting this together here, I told him, 'Only let me know if we are getting close to what we want'," said Ortiz. " 'Other than that, you talk to them. You deal with everything, and at one point we catch up'. "
"Last thing I heard, the Red Sox offered me arbitration."
But the tournament will be over Sunday. That makes it decision time . . . or close to it.
"Now when I meet with agent Fern Cuza on Monday, we're going to decide what I'm going to do," Ortiz told Moran.
Is accepting arbitration -- which would probably guarantee him a raise to about 14 million, but would mean accepting a one-year deal when he clearly wants two or three years -- one of his options?
"I haven't thought about it," he said. "I haven't been in this situation before. So it's something you talk to your agents about, and then decide what's better for you and the team."
It was part of an in-depth interview that touched on many points, including . . .
Are a lot of teams interested in signing him?
"My agent told me this week there's a good group of teams that would like to talk to us about our situation. They've been having conversations with some people and I'm a free agent and I got to listen to what everyone has to say, right? We're going to sit down and talk about it and make decisions."
What's more important, money or a long-term contract?
"It's the whole package. The number one thing is respect, the respect that you get from whoever you play for, because you know how you been doing your thing through the years. It's business, but everyone asks you for loyalty when it comes down to this business. So I think there's a lot involved and then it comes down to what everybody already knows, your contract situation. And there's a lot involved with signing a guy like myself. Hopefully things work out with the Red Sox and worse case, if it's not with them, it will be with someone else."
Do the Red Sox owe Ortiz anything?
"Not at all. I think, you sign a contract with the Sox and you're supposed to give them back what they expect from you. But there's a history, and that's why there's players that play for a team a long time, finish their career with the team. When you played for the period of time I have played with the Sox, you must be doing something right. It's not like you're going to stick with a team without giving them what they expect from you, and I know they feel that way about myself. I'm not going to tell you that they ain't, but we're talking and, like I say to my fans in New England: (looks into camera) Hopefully things work out, I love you guys, and I would like to finish my career as a Red Sox, but it's not on me anymore,"
On playing for new manager Bobby Valentine:
"I'm fine with anybody. I would play for you if you were the manager. Because in my case, I know what I need to do. It's not like I need anybody babysitting me or telling me what to do. Sometimes you do things wrong that you need to be reminded to correct them, that's human nature, but other than that . . . I know my package. I know what I need to bring to the field to play the game. And once the game starts, you got to be ready to go out there and beat up the opposition. I already know that, I think playing for Valentine I'm gonna be good, if playing for Terry Francona or somebody else."
On what his charity golf tournament means to him:
"It means a lot. When it comes to helping children, giving them health care, it's something I'm 100 percent down with. We've successfully been able to give back to the kids, thank God, and we've been able to get help to a lot of kids that really need it . . . When I saw the huge list they have of kids waiting to get surgery, I was like, 'I don't know how to start'. But once we created the foundation, its been unbelievable."
On where his giving spirit comes from:
"I got it from my family and background. It's the way your family raises you. I come from a family that didn't have a lot, but the little things we had we shared. My parents always used to make emphasize on being open to give back. That's part of my nature."