Ortiz takes Sox up on arbitration offer after talks stall

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Ortiz takes Sox up on arbitration offer after talks stall

DALLAS -- With less than three hours to spare before a pending midnight deadline, David Ortiz officially informed the Red Sox Wednesday night that he was accepting their offer of salary arbitration, binding him to the Sox for at least the 2012 season.

A Red Sox source confirmed the news.

Earlier Wednesday, the Sox and Fernando Cuza, the slugger's agent, closed the gap somewhat on a two-year deal, but remained enough apart in their negotiations that arbitration loomed as the likeliest outcome to bring Ortiz back to the club for a 10th season.

A baseball source with knowledge of the discussions said the Red Sox upped their previous offer of two years, 18 million "slightly" but the two year deal still fell shy of the 20 million mark.

ESPNBoston was the first to report the Sox' initial offer of two years, 18 million on Tuesday.

The acceptance of the offer of arbitration doesn't mean that the two sides can't continue to negotiate. If they fail to reach agreement on a two-year deal, Ortiz could earn as much as 14 million for 2012 through the arbitration process.

Some reports have suggested that Ortiz could get as much as 17 million through arbiration, though an industry source dismissed that, noting that Ortiz is already, by a significant margin, the highest-paid DH in the game, and there would be little in the way of a comparable salary to send his price that high.

Now that Ortiz has accepted arbitration, the Sox may be less likely to continue to pursuing a two-year deal, since they must move on to filling other needs on the roster and must be mindful of the amount of money committed to 2013.

There is an accounting benefit to the club should a two-year deal be reached, since that would lower the average annual value (AAV) of Ortiz's contract. If, for instance, the two sides agreed to a two-year, 20 million deal, the Sox would be assessed an AAV of 10 million for 2012 and 2013.

That would represent a savings of as much as 4 million (compared to a 14 million arbitration awardsettlement) toward the team's payroll counting against the luxury tax.

A baseball source said Ortiz did have some interest from other American League clubs, but his strong preference was to return to the Red Sox -- even through arbitration -- rather than be guaranteed slightly more money for a second year from another club.

Pedro Martinez to WEEI: Ortiz will make comeback this season

Pedro Martinez to WEEI: Ortiz will make comeback this season

Never say never?

While Red Sox officials said at the team's annual Winter Weekend at Foxwoods on Saturday that they'd be traveling to the Dominican Republic to talk to David Ortiz about a role with the team, Pedro Martinez told WEEI he sees Big Papi returning to his old role - designated hitter - this season.

CSN's Trenni Kusnierek and WEEI's John Tomase talked to Martinez on their show Saturday at Foxwoods and Martinez said his old teammate would be making a comeback despite the long, emotional farewell tour last season. 

For the full interview with Martinez, click here.

Red Sox executives Tom Werner, Sam Kennedy and Dave Dombrowski made no mention of Ortiz returning as a player when talking about their Dominican trip. Ortiz has repeatedly said he is going to stay retired. 

Chris Sale on leaving White Sox: 'Time for both sides to do something different, I guess'

Chris Sale on leaving White Sox: 'Time for both sides to do something different, I guess'

MASHANTUCKET, Conn. -- While there’s a deal of anticipation going into Spring training with the four Killer B’s, David Price and Pablo Sandoval’s shot at redemption and Rick Porcello looking to be something similar to his 2016 self, there’s one name that trumps them all.

Chris Sale.

The lankly lefty received an ovation from fans at the Friday night Town Hall, kicking off Red Sox Winter Weekend. With his consistent success, there’s reason to be excited.

But there’s also reason for apprehension given the way Sale’s departure from Chicago was depicted. But he’s made sure to clear the air.

“I wouldn’t say . . . ya know . . . I loved my time in Chicago,” Sale said when asked if it was time to leave the Windy City. “My best baseball memories are there [and] will be there forever. I love the city; I love the people in the organization.

“It was time for both sides to do something different, I guess. I talked to (White Sox Senior V.P.) Rick on the phone, I talked to (White Sox pitching coach Don) Coop (Cooper). We’re all cool, it’s fine. We understand where both of us are, it happens in baseball, but I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Chicago.”

He didn’t seem irritated discussing the issue, and certainly wasn’t timid -- we all know that’s not in his DNA.

He genuinely seems excited to deal with the large sum of Sox fans and to call a new place home -- in a city his wife’s fond of no less.

But ultimately, he’s focused on winning, nothing else.

“Every time I’m out there it’s gonna be all I got,” Sale said. "Every time, no matter what. Can promise you that.”