Ortiz, Sox face arbitration hearing today

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Ortiz, Sox face arbitration hearing today

The argument is simple:

-- David Ortiz is saying he deserves more than a 150,000 raise after a season in which he hit .309 with 29 home runs, 96 RBI, a .398 on-base percentage and a .554 slugging percentage (that's a .953 OPS).

-- And the Red Sox are saying no players similar to Ortiz -- aging, one-dimensional designated hitters -- make anything close to the 16.5 million he's seeking.

Today, unless the two sides reach a last-minute agreement, an arbitrator gets to decide who's right.

The Sox and Ortiz will present their cases in St. Petersburg, Fla., with the arbitrator eventually having to decide whether Ortiz will earn what he's asking for (that 16.5 million) or what Boston is offering (12.65 million). The Sox have a history of settling with their players before the hearings -- they last went to arbitration in 2002, against Roland Arrojo -- but two months of fruitless negotiations have led us to this point.

The problem, as has been pointed out by virtually everyone, is that the arbitration process is bruising; the team's argument is best made by pointing out the player's weaknesses. And since Ortiz can be touchy and sensitive in the best of times, you have to think he's not going to be a very happy camper when this is over, even if he wins. Especially since he's given the Sox a couple of team-friendly deals in the past, which may be another reason why he's sticking to his guns this time.

If they haven't settled by now, odds are they probably won't. But there's always hope.

For everyone's sake, let's hope they do.

Julien sidesteps job security question with "shock journalism" comment

Julien sidesteps job security question with "shock journalism" comment

BOSTON -- With three crushing losses in a row at a time when results are really all that matters, the Boston Bruins are reeling at the wrong time during the regular season. The B’s tried their best to win a game 0-0 with strong defense against a sleepy Chicago Blackhawks bunch on Friday night, but ultimately coughed up a Marian Hossa goal in the final minutes for a 1-0 regulation loss at TD Garden.

The defeat continued a swirl downward for the Black and Gold over the last week, and was a second straight shutout loss on home ice for the first time in almost 15 years. The losing stretch has also kicked up the chatter that Claude Julien is in trouble as head coach of the Bruins, and the hockey club’s underperformance up and down the lineup is ultimately going to cost the NHL’s longest tenured bench boss his job.

The Ottawa Senators have passed the Bruins in the Atlantic Division, and it’s only a matter of time before the Toronto Maple Leafs move by them as well with both Toronto and Ottawa holding six games in hand on Boston. Combine all of this with the B’s having missed the playoffs in each of the previous two seasons leading into this one, and it shouldn’t be at all surprising that Julien is squarely on the coaching hot seat.

The B’s bench boss was asked about his job security after the Chicago loss, and clearly didn’t appreciate the tough, but appropriate question.

“Well, I’m not into shock-journalism,” said Julien in a prideful tone. “So I’ll stay away from that question if you don’t mind.”

The Bruins posted their Saturday schedule shortly after Julien and the B’s players had addressed the media following the loss, and sure enough the embattled coach is scheduled to address the media post-practice as part of the regular practice day routine. So it doesn’t seem that a move with Julien is imminent this weekend despite another loss, but both the coach and the players know something is going to happen to shake things up with this team if they continue to struggle.

“Right now it’s a results based situation, so if you’re going to keep losing games then probably something’s going to happen,” said Torey Krug. “But right now we’re just pretty down emotionally after this game, so I don’t want to look at the big picture. I just [want to] focus on what’s going on in this room, and hopefully we can come back with a good effort the next game.”

A good effort might help Julien’s standing with the Bruins in the short term, but it’s impossible to imagine the B’s bench boss making it through the rest of the Bruins regular season given all of things working against him right now.