What Is David Ortiz's Future with the Red Sox?

Josh LevittSenior Analyst IMarch 15, 2010

KANSAS CITY, KS - SEPTEMBER 21:  David Ortiz #34 of the Boston Red Sox smiles during a break in game action against the Kansas City Royals on September 21, 2009 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. The Royals defeated the Red Sox 12-9. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

When you think about the Red Sox from 2003-2009, the image of David Ortiz immediately comes to mind.

Big Papi has been the face of the Red Sox since he burst onto the scene in 2003, but will 2010 be Ortiz's final season with the Sawx? You be the judge:

"Ortiz is tight-lipped when asked if there is anything that might be weighing on him. The most obvious potential source of discontent is his contract situation: The Red Sox hold an option on the 2011 season for $12.5 million.

"Ortiz said he has had no conversations with the club regarding his contract.

"'I'm just focusing on playing, not being a distraction about anything,' he said. 'It's going to be up to them to come talk to me. So I'm getting prepared to play.'"

 

Given how poorly Ortiz played last season, there is no reason for the Red Sox to approach Ortiz about a new deal or extension at this point. The bottom line is that no matter how much Ortiz has meant to the Red Sox since 2003, he has plenty to prove to the Red Sox in 2010. If Ortiz shows that his 2009 season was not a fluke, then the Red Sox will simply let Ortiz go and go in another direction at DH.

But where this gets interesting is if Ortiz puts together a solid 2010 season. Let's say Ortiz hits .265 with 30 home runs and drives in over 100 with a .380 OBP. Would the Red Sox pick up his option then? Economically, it might not be the best decision, but could Ortiz make the Red Sox's decision difficult with a solid season? No doubt.

But in the end, $12.5 million is a lot to commit to a 35-year-old designated hitter, even one as popular and lovable as David Ortiz.