On the morning before David Ortiz and the Boston Red Sox could have been part of a record-breaking salary arbitration hearing, the sides ultimately chose compromise over the possibly loss of millions.
According to ESPN’s Buster Olney (via Twitter), the slugger and the Red Sox will avoid arbitration by reaching a $14.575 million deal that is the mid-point between what Ortiz had been requesting ($16.5 million) and what the Red Sox had been offering ($12.65 million). Ortiz will see a $2.075 million raise (increase of 16.6 percent) over his $12.5 million salary last season.
With the amounts so high (in salary arbitration, the panel chooses either player or club figure with no figure selected in-between), it’s easy to see why the sides were unlikely to go to hearing.
If the sides had gone to hearing, the award would have ranked as the highest amount ever. To date, Ryan Howard (won his case in 2007 with the Phillies), Francisco Rodriguez (lost his case in 2007 with the Angels) and Alfonso Soriano (lost his case with the Nationals in 2005) at $10 million are still the highest amounts awarded at hearing.
SEE HOW ORTIZ WOULD HAVE STACKED UP WITH OTHER FA’S AT HEARING
Ortiz hit .309 with 162 hits, 70 extra-base hits, 40 doubles, a .398 on-base percentage, .554 slugging percentage and .953 OPS in 146 games with the Red Sox in 2011, all his best marks since 2007. He earned his fifth Silver Slugger Award and finished among overall AL leaders in average (6th), slugging (4th), on-base percentage (4th), OPS (4th), multi-hit games (9th, 51), extra-base hits (T-9th), walks (T-9th, 78), intentional walks (8th, 12), home average (4th, .342) and average vs. left-handed pitchers (8th, .329). Ortiz won the 2011 Edgar Martinez Outstanding Designated Hitter Award, his sixth such honor, passing Martinez for the most all-time. He led all designated hitters in average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS, extra-base hits, home runs (29), RBI (96), runs (84), walks and total bases (291). After the season, he also received the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award, recognizing the Major League player who best represents the game of baseball through positive contributions on and off the field.
Signed by Boston as a free agent on January 22, 2003, Ortiz ranks among all-time Red Sox leaders in homers (5th, 320), RBI (6th, 1,028), extra-base hits (6th, 681), doubles (7th, 348), walks (7th, 769), total bases (7th, 2,701) and runs (9th, 844), and is fourth in team history (min. 3,000 plate appearances) with a .570 slugging percentage and .958 OPS. The left-handed batter has appeared in 1,742 Major League games overall, hitting .283 (1,760-for-6,215) with 456 doubles, 16 triples, 378 home runs, 1,266 RBI, 1,059 runs, 955 walks, a .544 slugging percentage and .922 OPS over 15 Major League seasons with the Twins (1997-2002) and Red Sox (2003-11). The seven-time All-Star owns the all-time records with 333 homers and 1,094 RBI as a designated hitter.
With today’s agreement, the Red Sox have no remaining unsigned players eligible for salary arbitration.
Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He writes for Baseball Prospectus and is a contributor to Forbes SportsMoney blog.. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).
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