I may have gotten a tad fired up at some a-hole on the WEEI comment section and wrote this at him after he kept bringing up the fact that you don’t pay for past performance in baseball (huh? of course you do, hence the Pujols contract).
Do you don’t pay people based on past performance, do you pay them on future performance, current performance? No. You pay them on past performance. In Ortiz’s career with the Red Sox he’s done very, very well, 353 career home runs, 1191 RBI, his career stats are: .292/.390/.572. Through Ortiz’s career with the Sox, 11 seasons, he’s produced 41.6 WAR (all through baseball-reference.com). He had 2 rough years in 08 and 09 and then rebounded and has been a 2.5 WAR or better player. That’s not including all of his post season stats, in which he’s help bring the team to 3 World Series victories. He saw his worst season in 2008, were you begging to trade him then? Saying he was cooked? Of course there will always be the chance that he gets hurt or something happens to his hitting, but it’s simply a chance and one the Red Sox can afford to risk.
The contract isn’t a Pujols or Hamilton like contract, it’s not the end of the world, it doesn’t affect the tax penalty any. And this is the same amount of money, plus a million, that Pedroia signed in the middle of the season last year, a year and a half before his contract ran out (and yes, I’m aware that Pedroia is a different kind of player, he plays in the field as well, something Ortiz doesn’t do, but they’re teammates and it’s a comparable contract). Ortiz is the face of the franchise, he makes that team money hand over fist, it’s actually simple and good business to keep him a) happy and b) with the team. There simply hasn’t ever been a DH like Ortiz, he’s a luxury and one the Sox will happily pay because there isn’t a DH like him anymore. In fact, most teams are going away from the full-time DH player. Ortiz is the best and probably that last for a while. He’s also never been paid like his fellow players Pujols, A-Rod, Cano, Hamilton, etc. Even Pedroia will make more in his next contract (which doesn’t kick in until 2016) than Ortiz has in his career to this point.