Friday, July 16, 2010

This Is How An Option Works

David Ortiz really needs to realize when to shut his mouth. He should know better after seeing Keith Foulke, Johnny Damon, Manny Ramirez, Curt Schilling, Jonathan Papelbon, and now 46 popping off their mouths to the media. It's like when he went 0-for-the spring in 2009, he changed forever and is much surlier than the old Ortiz. While we can debate when the Nomar moment was for Ortiz, there is no really clear answer.

Unless you dislike steroids, the HR derby story was a good one on Monday night. But then Tuesday came along and Ortiz decided not to have his performance dedicated to the memory of Jose Lima like he said. He instead decided to dedicate his performance to his lobbying job not for the Red Sox to pick up his option for next year, but to award him a whole new contract extension. To me, this was asinine and a display of nerve we've never seen before from this guy...except for when he crushed the media for his April performance, blamed the manager for not playing him, blamed the team for not picking up another hitter, blamed the media for his steroid use, and so forth.

Forget the fact that he was begging for an irrational extension from a GM he trashed for not picking up another hitter since Manny Ramirez ran himself out of town. Forget that the timing of it happening was after he proved he could hit home runs against Tony Pena. What we should really think about is how unreasonable of a request it is. Teams build in options for a reason - so that if a guy is inconsistent during the penultimate year of his contract, the team can get out of the last year so they don't have a brick on their roster and payroll, thereby preventing them from winning baseball games. By inconsistent, I mean if a player's numbers are about .170 with 2 home runs and 22 RBIs over three of his last nine baseball months.

Even if Ortiz was hitting .400 with 30 home runs right now, all the guy should get would be the extension. If he did that, it wouldn't change the fact that he's overweight and 35 years old, indicators that it might all be over. Why would the Red Sox turn down an extra year at a low cost? Seriously. Other than goodwill toward the player who has bashed the GM for not trading the farm system for Adrian Gonzalez, why would the Red Sox ever do something like that? I think Ortiz needs to find out how a team option works. It's called negotiations. He did it several years ago and the team built this in to cover their rear ends.

The real issue at hand is not the player's inability to understand basic contract provisions. The issue is whether the team should actually pick up the player's option for next year. I feel like they should not extend Ortiz, specifically because I feel that the player is unaware that the baseball season starts in April, not on May 15th, and he's doing nothing but causing problems for six weeks every season.

This is, however, only providing that the team can somehow replace him in the lineup. Do they give Lars Anderson a chance at first, pick up Beltre's option, and do a three-man platoon between those three? Are they willing to pick up a DH in the free agent market at a better rate than the value of the Ortiz option? Honestly, I have not done this research yet. The first impression says no. But there might not be any other options.

All I know, however, is that if the Red Sox decide to drop the option and negotiate an extension with David Ortiz, they're either 1) putting value in the fact that he can hit 5:00 PM home runs or 2) they're more interested in keeping names than winning baseball games.


Anonymous said...


I don't know what it is, but for some reason it seems like only Red Sox players bitch and moan right around option time. Nomar, Pedro, Manny, and now Ortiz all had tantrums to one extent or other regarding the Sox picking up options and/or extending them. Every point that you've made is valid--it's a contract that THEY negotiated. They weren't complaining in year 3 when they were getting 12-15 million per season, were they? It's not like they were tricked into the contract. They knew what they were getting into. It's like dealing with insurance companies. You pay your premiums all along and then when it's time to pay a claim for a car accident they fight you tooth and nail. But they weren't giving you any refunds for the past nine years when you didn't have any accidents, did they?

It's incredibly annoying to hear guys who are making tens of millions of dollars talking about 'disrespect' and complaining about the future of the contract. Handle your business like a professional. Talk about it in the winter. If you really want that extension, maybe you shouldn't show up looking like you ate Mo Vaughn and start hitting on April 6th, not May 22nd.

--the Gunn

the gm said...


First and foremost, thanks for the sympathy comment.

Second, I doubt it's just the Red Sox who cry about extensions they negotiate with the team. I think we only get to hear about the Sox.

Third, I feel like when you're 34 years old, have literally gone .175 over three of your last nine baseball months, and have legal restrictions against taking performance-enhancing drugs, you gotta be kinda happy that the team is even THINKING about picking up your option! If the team is not thinking about picking up your option, you would be making less in 2011 than the $13 million the Red Sox are gonna pay you. I'd be happy with the $13 million instead of crying about it.

Fourth, you nailed it on the fact that the option was a negotiation. I think the player bent over backwards a little bit for the last two contracts, to be completely honest with you. But there is nothing owed, especially of those two contracts were because of a complete lie.

Finally, good call about when to start hitting. Memo to Ortiz: The baseball season starts in April. It's not the media's fault that you haven't realized that yet.