Red Sox and David Ortiz agree on two-year extension

BOSTON —The Boston Red Sox and star slugger David Ortiz agreed today on a two-year extension through 2014.  Known to all as “Big Papi,” Ortiz, 36, played key roles in the World Championships of 2004 and 2007 and has amassed 401 lifetime home runs.  In 10 years with the Red Sox, he has been an All-Star eight times.

“David Ortiz has made immeasurable contributions to the Red Sox for the past decade,” said Executive Vice-President/General Manager Ben Cherington, who made the announcement.  “He is an historic figure, a beloved hero, and an important player as we build our team for 2013 and beyond.”  

In 2012, he batted .318 with 23 home runs and 60 RBI, despite being limited to 90 games due to an injured right Achilles.  The left-handed batter, primarily a designated hitter, led all Major Leaguers (with at least 350 plate appearances) in slugging percentage (.611) and led the American League in OPS (1.026).  His eighth All-Star season in the past nine years ties him with Derek Jeter for the most in Major League Baseball during that time.

On July 4 in Oakland, he hit his 400th career home run to become just the sixth ever to reach that mark while playing for the Red Sox.

“David Ortiz has been one of the most positive influences in Red Sox history,” said Principal Owner John Henry.  “He has been a leader among his teammates, a favorite among the fans, and a powerful force in the middle of lineups that have produced so much joy and happiness for New England.  He has our gratitude and respect as he continues a career that could culminate in Cooperstown.”

At the time he first went on the disabled list in 2012, Ortiz’s 65 runs scored were tied for the Major League lead.  Among AL leaders, his extra-base hits ranked second (48), his home runs seventh (23), his RBI tied for 10th (58), his walks tied for fourth (56) and his total bases third (195). 

“We have all had the good fortune to have been Red Sox fans for more than ten years and to have seen David Ortiz transform from a baseball player into a revered hero,” said Chairman Tom Werner.  “He connects with people, he cares about people, and is a role model not just for New England but for all of baseball.  We are all thrilled that he will be continuing his stellar career with the Red Sox.”

With the Red Sox, Ortiz has hit 343 home runs, a total that trails only Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski, Jim Rice, and Dwight Evans.  His 1,088 RBI trail that same group plus Hall of Famer Bobby Doerr. 

“Signing David Ortiz was a critical piece of our off-season planning,” said President/CEO Larry Lucchino.  “It was one of our highest priorities.  We hope and trust he will complete his career as a member of this franchise and will be associated with the Boston Red Sox for years to come.”

Ortiz also ranks in the Red Sox Top 10 in extra-base hits (5th, 730), total bases (6th, 2,899), doubles (6th, 374), walks (6th, 825), runs scored (9th, 909) and hits (9th, 1,470). 

He ranks fourth in team history (min. 3,000 PA) with a .573 slugging percentage and a .962 OPS behind only Williams (.634, 1.116), Jimmie Foxx (.605, 1.034) and Manny Ramirez (.588, .999). 

Since joining the Red Sox in 2003, Ortiz ranks second among Major Leaguers in slugging (min. 3,000 PA), trailing only Albert Pujols (.612).  The Red Sox signed him as a free agent on January 22, 2003, after Minnesota released him.   

Ortiz earned 2004 ALCS MVP honors after winning Games 4 and 5 with walk-off hits in Boston’s historic comeback from a 3-0 deficit in the best-of-seven series versus New York.  He is the Red Sox career leader in postseason runs (39), hits (61), doubles (15), homers (12), RBI (43), total bases (116) and walks (41).

Ortiz, Pujols, and Alfonso Soriano are the only three Major Leaguers to tally at least 20 homers in each of the last 11 seasons (starting 2002).  He is the only Red Sox player ever to record at least 20 home runs in 10 consecutive campaigns (starting 2003).  He has hit at least 30 home runs in six seasons with the Red Sox, tied for second on the club’s all-time list behind Williams (8).  His 10 grand slams with Boston rank second in club history after Williams (17) while his 37 multi-homer games are tied with Williams for the team record.

Ortiz owns a .285 batting average (1,863-for-6,539) with 482 doubles, 16 triples, 401 home runs, 1,326 RBI, 1,124 runs and 1,011 walks in 1,832 Major League games over 16 seasons with the Twins (1997-2002) and Red Sox (2003-12).  His 401 home runs rank 50th on baseball’s all-time list, ninth among active players and 20th in American League history.  Among actives, only Jim Thome (13) has more regular season walk-off home runs than Ortiz’s 10.

Ortiz garnered three consecutive Thomas A. Yawkey Awards as the Red Sox MVP from 2004-06 in a vote of Boston BBWAA members, and was the only player to rank among the top five in AL MVP voting in each season from 2003-07.  This past September, Ortiz was named as the starting designated hitter on the All-Fenway Park Team as part of the ballpark’s 100th Anniversary season. 

Among designated hitters, he is the all-time Major League leader in doubles (410), home runs (353), extra-base hits (778), total bases (3,101) and RBI (1,147).  Ortiz has earned the Edgar Martinez Outstanding Designated Hitter Award a record six times from 2003-07 and 2011.  His five Silver Slugger Awards as DH (2004-07, 2011) are the most ever at the position.

He won the 2005 AL Hank Aaron Award, given to the top offensive performer in each league, after leading the Majors with 148 RBI.  In 2006, he received the Josh Gibson Award, presented by the National Negro Leagues Museum to each league’s home run champion, after breaking Foxx’s Red Sox single-season home runs record with 54.  

Known as much for his heart as his brawn, Ortiz won the 2011 Roberto Clemente Award, Major League Baseball’s highest honor for those who best represent the game of baseball through positive contributions on and off the field.  That same year, he won the Boston BBWAA’s Tim Wakefield Award for his charitable spirit.  

He created the David Ortiz Children’s Fund to provide critical pediatric services in New England and in his native Dominican Republic.  In the Dominican, he has hosted an annual eponymous golf classic the past four years to benefit his foundation.  In Boston, he has provided his time and other resources to Mass General Hospital for Children, donating tickets to patients from the hospital over the last four years as part of his “Papi’s Pals” program.